‘Boxing could help Wisbech’ - Former champion Simon Lee launches town’s second club

IN 1976 boxing star Simon Lee pipped motorcycling legend Barry Sheene to become The Wisbech Standard’s Sports Personality of the Year.

Now, more than 35 years later, Lee is still flying the flag for Wisbech by striving to set up the town’s second boxing club.

The 52-year-old, who represented Great Britain and won national titles during a glittering amateur career, has been running sessions for youngsters at Waterlees Boxing Club for almost a year.

He spent �1,500 to get the scheme off the ground and now the club has applied for a �5,000 grant from Fenland District Council to help them stay open.

Lee said: “I was helping at Wisbech Amateur Boxing Club but I decided to move on and try to help a different section of kids.

“These kids are out on the streets at night, with no money and nothing to do. My idea is to get them to come in and box.

“This club is very important to Waterlees and the children who live there. Wisbech is a little bit lost at the moment and this can help.”

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The club has welcomed Lithuanian, Polish and English youngsters into its makeshift gym, which is set up in a building owned by Robert Shoebridge, near the Boathouse.

NE Cambs MP Steve Barclay and FDC leader Alan Melton are set to visit the young boxers tonight, with a decision on grant funding to be announced next month.

Councillor Virginia Bucknor has helped the club set up a committee and apply for the grant.

She said: “There is nothing to do in Waterlees during the evenings for young people and this club offers them the opportunity to keep fit, build discipline, values and skills and apply it to their lives outside.”

Simon is the son of Saphire and Buddy Lee, who run Wisbech ABC, but he insists there will be no rivalry between the two clubs.

“There’s potential for it to be a nice little club and it could possibly affiliate with the amateur boxing club.

“There’s no rivalry - mum said good luck to me. We are all into boxing and we want to see it thrive in Wisbech.”

• The club is open from 6-9pm on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Sessions cost �2 and youngsters aged eight and above are welcome.

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