Boxing clever

Yesterday was a great day for sport with the opening of the Beijing Olympics (if a less good one for human rights…). And it was a significant day for Islington with the sentencing of Martin Dinnegan’s killers.

So it felt right that last night I was part of a small but important meeting looking at how sport, specifically boxing, can help give young people a positive direction in life.

The meeting was called by the Times Boxing Club and Ben Kinsella’s family (Ben’s cousin Billy is a keen member of the club). We discussed their aim to do even more to give young people structure and ambition, by building another floor to their club to fit in more activities. I’ve known David Ryan from Times for years; he’s passionate about the club and their work. David’s been recognised as one of sport’s unsung heroes: the club is his life.

We also heard from two men who’ve lost their sons to violence. Ben’s dad George Kinsella spoke movingly of how he dearly wished he wasn’t there; it’s very early days but the Kinsella family are determined to see some good come from Ben’s death, and want boxing to be part of that. Mark Prince, an inspirational figure, who lost his son Kiyan, spoke about how boxing had given his own life discipline.

Even after a decade working at the Sports Council, I’ve been doubtful about boxing in the past. But that’s changed as I’ve met and respected more and more people involved in boxing. People like Mary Powell, Islington’s first ever Lib Dem Mayor, who still runs the London ex Boxers Association. Or young boxing star Marlon Mellish, who lives just round the corner from where I used to live in Barnsbury

Marlon says boxing has given him the structure he needed; he’s now studying sports science at City & Islington and hopes to go on to university. For him and many others, boxing’s not just an outlet today but hope for tomorrow.

My apologies to friends Helen & Andy whose wedding party was also last night. But keeping our young people safe is such an important issue, I wanted to be there in person. It was good to have Lib Dem Cllrs Paula Belford & Lucy Watt there too.

I’ll certainly be doing what I can to help Times with their plans.



  1. […] David Ryan, the engine of the Times Boxing Club, also gets the MBE. David is totally dedicated to the work of the Club which helps so many young […]

  2. lor said

    R.I.P Martin Dinnegan

  3. […] head. This week Sparkplug, an excellent youth motorbike project, has its annual award ceremony. The Times Boxing Club is getting extra funding from the Council. And so it goes […]

  4. […] Times ABC does fantastic work, and it’s supported by many organisations, including our Lib Dem Council. Council leader […]

  5. Mrs Dinnegan said

    Just browsing. I was very touched when the video of Martin started to play, as i didn’t expect all those nice pictures of Martin and his friends to be there. It brought back lovely memories of Martin’s child hood and his precious time on this earth. It was a positive little video, it also reminded us of some of the other teenagers who’s life was taken so suddenly in such a way. It also sent out some strong anticrime messages.

    Kind Regards

    Mrs Dinnegan

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