RING king Henry Wharton has a new ally in his corner – York Central MP Hugh Bayley.
The Labour man is to launch his own combination to try to ensure Wharton’s gym attracts potential grant aid and also maximises its full potential.
Henry’s Gym, the premises transformed from the shell of the upper floor of the old Regent Cinema in Acomb’s York Road into the city’s biggest boxing gym, is battling against a funding shortfall.
The biggest barrier is work which needs to be done to a fire escape to enable the club to finally host its inaugural boxing show.
While the gym regularly attracts a battalion of boxers and fitness-seeking ranks to the boxing training sessions three nights a week, there is still ample scope at the 10,000 square-foot gym to accommodate other clubs and societies seeking to hold meetings and functions.
So Team Wharton, the clutch of supporters of the gym, contacted Bayley and he held talks with the former undefeated European, Commonwealth and British super-middleweight champion who has poured much of his savings into establishing the gym.
Said Bayley: “I am very supportive of the club. I think it’s a great asset to have somewhere where youngsters can train and learn the discipline of a competitive, contact sport.
“I was further impressed that the gym encourages the training of men and women and to have a club in York set up and run by an international champion gives it something very special.
“Henry’s presence as a trainer motivates young people because he has talked the talk and walked the walk. It would be a great shame if the club was not here.”
As part of his plan to assist, Bayley is to explore the chance of possible rate relief for the gym as well as contacting City of York Council’s leisure bosses and the government’s department for Culture, Media and Sport to see what help could be available or opportunities for the gym to make an application for aid.
He also said an approach could be made to the National Lottery and also the York Chamber of Commerce, the latter body possibly able to offer advice.
Wharton was delighted by his talks with the York Central MP adding: “The boxing side of it is going extremely well, but by now we should have had three shows.
“Our first is not scheduled until May, so it’s a question making as much of the building as possible in terms of extra revenue.
“If there are any clubs or societies out there who want a place to hold meetings and events they can phone me on 07543 636424.”