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Ex-Boxer Rewards Young Trainees in Watford

Young people from Watford who enrolled in a programme that teaches youths to focus their aggression through sport and healthy living, will receive awards for their progress on Wednesday.

Box Cleva has been going since 2010 and operates from locations throughout Hertfordshire – including Leavesden Green Community Centre in north Watford, where it has been running since last year. Box Cleva was set up by Bob Williams, Watch Commander for the Herts Fire & Rescue Service and launched in Watford with the help of the Safer Watford Partnership. The Partnership brings together multiple organisations who work together to keep the town safe. Box Cleva is now a registered charity.

Mr Williams, Watch Commander Hertfordshire Fire & Rescue Service – which is part of the Safer Watford Partnership, said: “We work on statistics a lot in life now. The personal testimonies of the parents are the biggest endorsement of this fantastic scheme. We are getting kids back into school and educating them. Their behaviour improves – their parents tell us they are no longer angry.”

Mr Williams is a professional boxing referee and was previously a competitor in the sport himself, taking part in 75 amateur and – between 1986 and 1994 – 33 professional fights. At one stage, he was in the top 10 of all UK boxers in the light welterweight category.

Mr Williams, who joined Hertfordshire Fire and Rescue Service in 1986, said: “Box Cleva is great. I love it. Boxing put me in a good position in life and I wanted to give something back to the sport. We are bringing along hundreds of kids each week. It’s outstanding.”

Box Cleva participants receive bronze awards after six months on the programme, followed by silver for 12 months, gold for 18, platinum for 24 and diamond for 30. They will be handed out in the north Watford area on Wednesday 17th June.

Mr Williams said: “There are no losers in Box Cleva. The awards are for everybody. These kids have increased in confidence, self-esteem and learned respect, discipline, healthy eating and substance awareness.”

Elected Mayor of Watford, Dorothy Thornhill added: “It is schemes like this and the dedication of individuals like Mr Williams that divert our young people away from crime and teach them important life skills. It’s fantastic that the Safer Watford Partnership can help contribute to this programme and make a difference in our town.”

The awards were attended by boxing legend John Conteh, who was world light-heavyweight champion in the 1970s, when they were held in Watford in November. He said: “Since I became Patron of Box Cleva it has been really great to see how the sport of boxing has been improving young people’s lives, with educational sessions on healthy living and substance awareness. The kids truly love it and this really is improving so many young people’s lives.”

For more information on Box Cleva, visit: www.boxcleva.net and

For more information on the Safer Watford Partnership, visit: www.watford.gov.uk/ccm/navigation/community-and-living/community-safety

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