Stephen Nicholson, an entrepreneur from West Auckland, is fighting to get the local community fit by opening a new boxing gym, aimed at the village’s young people.

Stephen, who is the founder and managing director of bespoke decorating firm S Nicholson and Sons, grew up in West Auckland and has had a love of the sport since he was young.

When he was told that the youth club in West Auckland, Milbank, had been empty for approximately four years, he visited to see if it could be converted into a space for young people to train. Within a day, he had purchased the building.

The West Auckland Amateur Boxing Gym will welcome John and Tina Jimminson as head coach and head women’s coach when it opens later this year.

Stephen Nicholson said: “My family heritage is from West Auckland and I’ve always wanted to give something back. I’m a huge fan of boxing and it’s a massive part of my life. It’s a great way to get young people to keep fit and learn a new skill.

“When work wasn’t so busy during the lockdown, it gave me a lot of time to think about other projects I could get involved with, and when the boxing gym idea came up, I went for it straight away.

“I’ve loved boxing for years and two of my sons box, so we wanted to share that passion with other kids in the local area who maybe can’t travel to clubs further afield but want to do something active, especially after they’ve been cooped up for so long.

“Once the government gives gyms the go ahead to open, we’ll be ready to go.”

Tina Jimminson, head women’s coach and former North East champion, said: “I boxed for Bishop Auckland, which I did for about six years, so when I saw that they were  opening the club I wanted to be involved.

“Me and my husband are both involved. He’s head coach and I’m head women’s coach, so I couldn’t think of anything better.”