BOXING: A UNIQUE scheme led by Crewe Amateur Boxing Club (ABC) is aimed at cracking down on school bullies and spotting the stars of the future.
Club secretary Tim Fredericks and coach Joey Singleton, a former British Light Welterweight Champion and Lonsdale Belt holder, are behind a plan to build picked-on pupils' confidence by teaching them boxing skills.
A link-up between Crewe ABC and Wilmslow High School, where Mr Fredericks is a teacher, has proved successful. The initiative uses boxercise - a non-contact technique-based discipline.
It is taught at the club and at Wilmslow High School through Mr Fredericks, who uses Crewe ABC equipment. The pilot scheme has become incredibly popular.
Now the pair hope to bring boxercise to schools in South Cheshire in the future and say it could help them spot budding boxing talent in the area.
Mr Fredericks, who helps Mr Singleton with coaching at the club based at Greystone Park, said: 'Boxing is pro-effort and pro-work and it has a real anti-bullying message.
'This scheme aims to inculcate in school pupils disciplined attitudes both to training and study, coupled with a dislike of and a willingness to work against bullying in all its forms.
'Youngsters pledge themselves to dis-courage, verbally and by example, bul-lying in their own community. Boxercise involves all aspects of boxing training, minus the sparring, and that creates a high level of fitness in students.
'It offers something different for youngsters to do and it is definitely a good way for us to spot potential. There has been an amazing demand for it and we definitely want to bring it to more schools in the future. As far as I know, it is unique.' English teacher Mr Fredericks added: 'It is not a question of bullying being a big problem in local schools, we see it as more of a preventative measure.
'Boxers have a focused, disciplined approach which would be helpful to schools to instil into pupils.'
The Home Office has backed the scheme in writing because it is in line with its advocacy of boxing training for the young.
A conference is being arranged for schools to attend and learn about the scheme in the New Year.
The training will be available for any pupil between the ages of 11 and 18. A simpler version is being designed for primary schoolchildren.
Mr Singleton said: 'It is fantastic to work with the kids. I was bullied myself at school so I know what it is like. But after I got into boxing, not many people would mess around with me.
'We have had a few kids here who have come a long way. It is great to see the effects that boxing has on the kids and it leaves a lasting impression.'
People of any age, ability or gender are welcome at Crewe ABC, based at the bottom of Greystone Park off Earle Street, near the Belle Vue Inn.
Training for boxercise through to competition standard takes place between 10am-noon on Sundays, and between 5.00-7.30pm on Monday, Wednesday and Fridays. For more details, phone Joey Singleton on 01270 650770.