A GREENOCK boxing club has celebrated a momentous milestone after being at the heart of the town’s east end for a quarter of a century.

Greenock Boxing Club marked its long and successful history with a special end of year awards celebration and anniversary event.

Over its two-and-a-half decades in Inverclyde the club has produced countless talented athletes, including dozens of Scottish champions.

Today it has almost 80 members who train regularly at its gym on Bawhirley Road.

(Image: George Munro)

Head coach Danny Lee, who has been part of the club since it was founded, told the Tele he never could have imagined the club would grow to the size it has.

He said: “We were moved between a few different places when the club first started.

“Out the blue Sandy Burke and his son asked me if I wanted this place and I couldn’t believe our luck.

“They gave us it rent free, even to this day they don’t take any money off us, we just pay the bills.

“That was when it all came together, we had loads of boys and coaches with all the qualifications.

“We went from having a couple of boys in learning to having a couple dozen boys boxing.

“The kids really started to buy into it, I think one year we had 12 kids and about 11 Scottish championships.

“We got to the stage where we were getting Scottish champions every year at junior, schoolboy and youth levels.”

(Image: George Munro)

Danny has coached at his sport’s highest level and has himself won three senior national titles and had around 20 professional fights.

He said his proudest moments at the club have come from watching young members mature into good citizens.

He said: “We’ve won loads of championships, just about everything you can as an amateur boxing club, but just getting kids in off the street and watching them perform is special.

“Seeing them win and the joy on their parents’ faces is unbelievable.

“Just watching them mature is incredible, we’re not trying to make them into saints, but we want to make them into proper kids that the community can be proud of.

“It’s all worth it when you see the joy on the faces of the kids and their parents.

“The covid years absolutely flattened every sports club, but even now we’re back in the game and over the last few weeks and months we’ve had kids coming through and boxing and winning.

“The club’s beginning to thrive again and that was what Sandy Burke wanted when he gave us the place, to have a club for the east end of the town.

“Now the number of young boys and girls in the club who box is unbelievable, we’re bursting at the seams.”

Despite his own incredible efforts over the years, Danny says the club would not have been able to grow and thrive the way it has without the help of a number of key people.

He added: “The coaches, our committee and our matchmaker Gerry Shields are a big part of the success we’ve had.

“We get so much support, we even get people coming along sometimes to help out who don’t box.

“We’ve had a lot of help from Michael McCormick, the ex-provost, over the years.

“Our sponsors have helped us out so much as well, we’d have struggled without their support.

“We try to teach the kids how to be good young men and good girls and you see that in a lot of the people who’ve come through here and gone on to be great people.

“I just want to thank everyone who’s ever helped the club, our sponsors, our committee, our coaches and all the boys and girls who’ve come along and boxed.”