North East Connected

County Durham Community Club is Boxing Clever with GBLF

A COUNTY Durham boxing club has secured a larger new home in the shape of a disused church with the help of the Small Business Services Team at Gordon Brown Law Firm LLP (GBLF).

Renovation works are now complete at the former Trimdon Grange Methodist Church, which has remained empty for over two years, to transform the building into a training academy and provide a permanent base for the Erawan Thai Boxing Club.

Neil Sanderson, whose son is a member of the boxing club, purchased the church after enlisting the help of the Small Business Services Team at GBLF, who provide bespoke legal services for the region’s SMEs, in drawing up formalities and dealing with sales and purchases of small and new businesses, lease renewals and extensions as well as general business support.

Neil said: “The boxing club is a big part of the community and spending a long time training in temporary locations without sufficient access times, space and facilities, meant the club had previously lost key members to larger and better equipped gyms. So along with the coaches I decided it was the right time to secure a larger facility for us to design specifically to fit the club’s needs. The new building gives the club a permanent base to truly call its own and will play a crucial factor in maximising each member’s full potential.

“It was extremely disappointing for the Trimdon community to see the church close and the building, which served the area for more than 120 years, left empty for so long. However, we’re pleased to be able to give the building a new lease of life. Since purchasing it we have already seen increased interest from people looking to join, so we’re excited to be moving the project forward.”

As part of the transformation of the former church a 645sq. ft. Mezzanine floor has been installed to create more space for the club to include changing rooms, a sauna area and a therapy studio. All of which revolve around the new seating, waiting and reception area with viewing gallery – perfect for parents to relax whilst being able to watch their children take part in classes. As part of the general redecoration of the building, the toilet facilities have been completely renovated as well as the installation of a new shower room.

In addition to housing the Erawan Thai Boxing Club, which is run by Steven Wright – a respected Thai Boxing instructor, the training academy will also run MMA classes as well as Functional Fitness sessions under qualified and highly regarded coaches. A substantial investment has been made in the provision of new equipment helping the coaches offer the best tuition. As a result, leading fight gear brand Revgear has supported the club by announcing it as one of its accredited Pro-Gyms.

Personal trainer Craig Ayre, will also benefit by having his own dedicated section of the training academy with separate access, which is due to open later this year. Craig, who specialises in circuit training and personal training for juniors to pensioners, will provide Body Fitness classes to further enhance the health and fitness programme available to the local community.

Steven added: “We are delighted to be opening the new training academy this week and as well as offering improved facilities we will also be able to fulfil more convenient opening times, which will allow more people from the local community to get involved.

“Without GBLF we would not have been able to purchase this property and we are very grateful to Joy and the team for their support and guidance throughout the process. I would definitely recommend the team to others and will be using them again in the future.”

Joy Heron, paralegal in the Small Business Services Team at GBLF, said: “It was great to be able to assist Neil and the club in the purchase of the former Trimdon Grange Methodist Church. The club is a big part of the community in Trimdon Grange and with the acquisition of these enhanced facilities will be able to help even more children get into boxing and keep fit.

“Further to providing a permanent place for the Erawan Thai Boxing Club to train, this transaction has also brought a much-loved building, which has been left unused since 2014, back to life to benefit its local community once again.”

The Erawan Thai Boxing Club teaches children from the age of six years through to 17, as well as adults, and accommodates a mix of abilities, from absolute beginners through to those competing. For more information on the club visit:

For further details on GBLF and its corporate and commercial team call 0191 388 1778 or visit

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