We Love The News - Q Shillingford explains how The News has helped him stay rolling with the punches

IT’S been a turbulent 10 months for grassroots sports clubs.

Tuesday, 2nd February 2021, 8:17 am
Q Shillingford at his gym in Omega Street, Portsmouth on 15 January 2021. Picture: Habibur Rahman

Due to coronavirus restrictions, clubs had to completely stop last year, then after months of inactivity, they had to find a way to get their members back to training and playing.

Navigating these tricky times – and working out a way to get people back safely – is something that’s been top of Q Shillingford's agenda.

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The Heart of Portsmouth Boxing Academy head coach and founder says that he’s proud that his boxing club is still standing - and he thanked The News for its support along the way.

Q, who set up the club in September 2008, said: ‘We did everything we had to do, keeping it as safe as we could, but we also made it so people could attend.

‘At the time I had my own doubts about whether things were going to work. I had my worries and at certain times I thought we should shut.

'But I thought “we can’t shut, we could lose the kids’ passion for the sport and their commitment”.’

His club, in Omega Street, has 300 members ranging from 10 years old to adults and 20 volunteer coaches.

It was set up with the aim of keeping youth off the street and engaging them in physical activity.

The club prides itself in delivering recreational, educational and competitive boxing at a high level. It works with more than 10 schools in the city, also with social services and the youth offending unit, plus many others.

Q fell in love with boxing aged 10 with Andover Boxing Club and he has had a long career, winning national titles, training with the Royal Navy and being in the England Squad – at one time he was ranked fourth in Great Britain.

Q’s work saw him awarded an MBE for his services to the sport and young people in 2014.

Over the years, The News has often reported on the Q’s and the club’s successes.

Q, who was born in 1967 in London and spent his infant years in the West Indies before returning to England aged 10, said: ‘Having the support of our local paper has really meant the world to our members.

‘Seeing yourself in the paper is a moment of pride - for them and their families.

‘It's been a long journey, getting the club to where it is today, and it's been great to have The News supporting us throughout. We are here to stay, and I hope The News is too.’

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