Businessman Simon Whitfield has donated a total of £900 to support the running of West Auckland Amateur Boxing Gym

Simon, who is managing director of Stockton-based Halt Hire, which supplies access equipment throughout the UK, is a long-time boxing fan and supporter of the gym.

He has covered the £400 cost of supplying members with new tracksuits and training tops as well as providing a further £500 donation towards the upkeep of the facility.

West Auckland Amateur Boxing Gym was founded in the early months of the pandemic by Stephen Nicholson, who is managing director of Bishop Auckland-based bespoke painting and decorating firm S Nicholson & Sons, and head coach Ernest Spowart.

Since then, it has attracted a host of high profile visitors including former IBF cruiserweight champion Glenn McCrory, former IBF bantamweight champion Paul Butler, former IBO super middleweight champion Robin Reid, and current WBC silver middleweight title holder Sam Eggington.

In addition, following the donation of a minibus, members have been able to travel to training sessions and competitions across the country.

Simon said: “Stephen Nicholson is a long-standing customer of mine and as a boxing fan myself I’ve followed the fortunes of the gym since it was started from scratch less than two years ago.

“I wanted to reward the hard work of the many people who have made this facility such a success, and who are helping to transform so many lives through their passion for the sport of boxing.”

Ernest Spowart said: “This donation has provided our boxers with new tracksuits and tops, as well as helping maintain this first class local amenity. Some of our members aren’t always able to afford things like sportswear, so this gesture is truly appreciated.”

Stephen Nicholson added: “We’ve had great support from the local parish council and other local businesses who recognise that we have created something the community of West Auckland can be truly proud of.”

The gym, which was officially opened last summer by Bishop Auckland MP Dehenna Davison, is also supported by coaches Kallum Stuart, Kevin Dixon and club secretary David Morsley.