Harlesden boxer James DeGale opens youth club ahead of British super-middleweight fight against Paul Smith

Cheering youngsters flocked around star as Willesden youth club opens doors for first time

A BOXING championtook time out from trainging for his big fight on Saturday to cut the ribbon for a youth club which threw its doors open for the first time.

James DeGale, the Olympic gold medallist boxer from Harlesden, joined dozens of excited kids and their families to celebrate Kings Hall Youth Club’s inaugural nightand sample the activities on offer.

Mr DeGale kindly lent a helping hand despite training hard this week for the biggest fight in his professional career that will see him vie against Paul Smith for the British super-middleweight title on Saturday.Emma Arthur, the force behind the youth club, in Harlesden Road, Willesden, said: “It was brilliant. It couldn’t have gone any better. I was a bit nervous because of the weather, but there must have been 100 people turn up.

“James was great. He chatted to the kids and was a real inspiration to them and said he would like to see them again in the future.”


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The club was more than six months in the planning by Mrs Arthur, of Kings Road, Willesden, and a back-seat steering committee of ten children who proved their worth as the young members couldn’t get enough.

Ms Arthur said: “Kids of all ages were doing the workshops; making cards and candles, playing table tennis, sitting on bean bags chilling out to music and eating food and drinks.”

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And the buzz surrounding the opening brought local kids and their families down to see what all the fuss was about with another eight youngsters joining on the night.

The club that opens on Wednesdays from 7 to 9pm will close for two weeks over Christmas and New Year, but is continuing to take on new members.

* For more details visit www.kingsyouthclub.org.uk

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