“My father lost his sight to diabetes and so this charity is very close to my heart. If we can help those in Derby and across the county who has limited or no vision then I will be delighted to be able to put something back to this very worthwhile cause.”

Clive Fearon, One Nation Health Studio

CEO at Sight Support Derbyshire

Claire Winfield was appointed as the CEO at Sight Support Derbyshire in January 2013.  Claire joins us from the Royal Air Forces Association where she worked as the Director of Welfare.

 

Clive's helping to get workers fighting fit for challenge of ring

The pressure of a vital pitch for business or even a crucial meeting to stave off administration can only pale in comparison to the kind of emotions experienced by boxers entering the ring.

Clive Fearon, who boxed professionally as a welterweight in the 1980s, is an evangelist for the sport.

He believes in its ability to improve self-esteem, discipline and concentration.

Having worked as a teacher and youth worker prior to running the One Nation Gym, in Stanhope Street, Normanton, he has seen first-hand the positive impact boxing can have on young people.

For the past few years, he has been training and promoting white-collar boxing in order to get people away from their desks and into the ring.

He said: "One of the guys who did white-collar boxing watches the DVD of his fight every morning to psyche himself up for the day ahead. It is tough and, as a trainer, sometimes I have to be quite aggressive to get the message across to fighters because I have to make sure they understand how to fight and defend themselves."

White-collar boxing is about giving people a challenge. In fact, facing up to challenges characterised Clive's career right from the start.

"I was always the away fighter, fighting in someone else's back yard when I was boxing," said Clive.

"I remember one night in Essex I fought a guy who was much bigger than the ten-and-a-half stone he was supposed to be and beat him but it was scored as a draw.

"Things like that and the racist taunts were no big deal because you learned to cope with whatever was thrown at you."

Unless you are a champion, there is not much money in boxing.

"It's all about chasing the dream and I wanted to be a champion but when I was in my mid 20s, I realised that I was never going to fulfil that dream and I got out," said Clive.

He gritted his teeth to pass the exams necessary to get to university and study for a psychology degree. Clive then returned to Derby, teaching A-level psychology at Mackworth College but soon found himself in a more demanding environment.

"I started working as a drug counsellor and because relapsing is part of the process, it can become very confrontational," said Clive. "You have to be tough."

As well as being able to deal with the potential for physical confrontation with drug addicts seeking help, Clive was also faced with situations that were emotionally difficult. Working with the youth offending service was an eye opener.

"I remember people talking about what they were going to do when they got out (of custody) and there was a 16-year-old there who wasn't going to be released until he was 32," said Clive.

"It was one of the saddest things I've ever seen in my career," he added.

During the mid 90s, Clive still had links to the boxing world in Derby and when former European title contender Clifton Mitchell hung up his gloves and opened a gym in the city, Clive got involved.

In 2002, when Clifton started to throw more of his energies into his security firm, Clive went into business by taking over the running of One Nation Gym and Boxing Academy in Stanhope Street.

In recent years the business has soaked up blows from other gyms opening in Derby but One Nation has stood firm.

Clive said: "It might not look all that much from the outside but it's a really friendly and inclusive place and I want to make it a centre of excellence for white-collar boxing, put on good shows and give people an experience of a lifetime.

"It's about facing the unknown and testing yourself because getting into the ring is one of the ultimate challenges and there's nothing better for improving self-belief," said Clive.

Now that low interest rates, quantitative easing and National Insurance contributions have failed to put the fight back into the economy, a bit of extra self-belief among the nation's entrepreneurs would not come amiss. Maybe boxing is the answer.

Oliver "The Artful Dodger" Astley is one of the fighters competing at Clive Fearon's charity white-collar boxing event in the Pedigree Suite at Pride Park Stadium on Saturday, February 11.

The event is being held to raise money for Sight Support Derbyshire and tickets cost £25 each.

For more information, visit the website www.onenationderby.co.uk

 

Source: This is Derbyshire

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