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Saturday, 25 October 2014

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Budding boxers help open gym

YOUNG boxing stars of the future showcased their talents as the lasting legacy of a local sporting hero was unveiled.

A ceremony and demonstration marked the official opening of Pat’s Gym, named after the late Pat Ryan, in the Lyceum Hall, in Buccleuch Street, Barrow on Friday.

The newly-revamped gym is the new home of Furness Catholic Amateur Boxing Club, founded by Pat in 1957. The club was left homeless earlier this year following the closure of the Traveller’s Rest in Abbey Road, where it had been based for 34 years.

Pat’s sons, Kevin, Michael and Gary, aka Team Ryan, then set about finding a new premises for its 30 members, whose ages range from nine to 22 years old.

After a stressful search, they found the hall and set out on the arduous task bringing it up to scratch, but work was brought to a halt when Pat’s illness began to take hold. The 85-year-old lost his battle with lung cancer in April.

Even though he did not live to see the completion of the new gym, his family have ensured he can watch over it, as a picture of Pat has prime position looking out on to the brand new boxing ring.

Pat’s eldest son, Kevin Ryan, said: “After the Traveller’s shut, Team Ryan got on our bikes to get a new premises. Our father came here quite a few times, but the work went on the backburner when he took bad.

“This is about celebrating being in a new home. A new era and a new gym for the start of a new boxing season, carrying on the family tradition.”

Barrow and Furness MP John Woodcock and Councillor Wendy Maddox, deputy mayor of Barrow, were invited along to cut the ribbon.

Mr Woodcock said: “I think what has been achieved here is superb. This here is Pat’s legacy and it is going to be part of this town for decades to come. His family should very rightly be proud, it has taken so much work.

“Everyone is delighted to be able to share in the magnificent future of this place.”

Cllr Maddox said: “I knew Pat from when I was the mayor of Dalton and I visited the gym then. I’m a huge boxing fan and I think this place is brilliant.”

After guests raised a glass toasting the future of Pat’s Gym in his memory, junior and senior members gave a demonstration which featured footwork, skipping and punch-bag work, proving they have what it takes to follow in the footsteps of the likes of pros such as Amir Khan and Ricky Hatton.

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