Fighting in SSAFA’s Corner
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“Dad served for 29 years in Northern Ireland, Cyprus, Gambia and Germany. As an army family, we were always aware of the vital support that SSAFA provides to serving and veteran soldiers. I remember the fantastic practical and financial assistance SSAFA gave to the family of my dad’s corporal who was killed in a training exercise, leaving behind a wife and young family.
“When dad passed away unexpectedly in 2014, we chose a memorial collection for SSAFA instead of flowers. It’s nice to know that money you raise goes directly to helping someone who has put his or her life on the line for our country.
“I wanted to do something challenging—something that reflected, albeit only a fraction, of the challenge and courage required by our Forces on a daily basis. I chose boxing because dad always loved to watch Army boxing, and his good friend was a boxer for the Royal Anglian Regiment’s Poachers.
“I was a complete beginner so I joined Pink Collar Boxing. They specialise in training novices to fight on behalf of charity. I did an intensive training course at a professional boxing gym twice a week for eight weeks, culminating in a three-round amateur match.
“I’d never hit anyone in my life, so the reality of punching someone in the face was difficult to overcome, but it was such an incredible work out. Most nights I’d collapse in a heap. I was surprised how mentally challenging the sport is. It takes a huge amount of personal grit, determination and courage to stand square and face pain head on.
“Match day was incredible. I had so much support for my fundraising and a big group of friends and family cheering me on. It turned out my opponent didn’t get the note about it being a charity match. She landed a massive punch in the first round, breaking my nose and nearly knocking out a tooth! Being in that ring for three rounds felt like eternity, but I knew dad would have been proud of my courage to stand strong and fight to the end.
“I miss my dad so much. It’s a comfort to know that raising money in his memory goes directly to helping another family like mine. SSAFA provides a much-needed buffer for practical, financial and emotional help. Our Forces put so much on the line for others; it’s important they have the opportunity to get back when they need it.”