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A 24-hour Skip-a-thon took place in Hastings town centre last week to raise funds for the Flaxmere Boxing Academy, which is helping at risk boys to reach their full potential using boxing as the vehicle to engage and inspire them.

Over $3000 was raised towards the purchase of a property to establish a new boxing gym in Flaxmere. Currently the boxing academy is based in Hastings, but it is hoped it will make it’s first appearance in the heart of Flaxmere as buildings were scarce two years ago when the academy was first established.

Hundreds joined in the fundraising efforts skipping non-stop for 24 hours. A stage was set up under the clock in Hastings where young boxers, school groups, political candidates, Olympic athletes and locals joined in the fun, skipping three at a time.

90 boxers from the Naenae Boxing Academy in Wellington and others from Cannons Creek Boxing Academy took part in the challenge and were beamed in on large TVs via Skype. Vodafone staff did the same, skipping in their offices to help raise much-needed funds.

Craig McDougall, Head Coach at Flaxmere Boxing Academy said, “Our trustees and CEO skipped during some of those tough hours in the middle of the night between 1am and 4.30am. We had a big turn out from locals who really got behind us. People got up to skip on stage but may others skipped in the streets with long rope competitions and double-dutch education and games.

“There was music, coffee carts, food and drinks. We held boxing demonstrations, fun ‘learn to box’ sessions, massages, haircuts, celebrity challenges, skipping competitions for the experienced and the ‘I’ll give it a go’ type person. Inter business challenges and school long rope jump off. Local heroes such as Police and Fire Brigade also joined in.”

Craig said that the skip-a-thon taught the boys not to give up. “Through this they have learnt courage, resilience and teamwork. We also had music, food tents and set small goals throughout the tough times. I did text one of our coaches to come back down at 4.45am as we were having a tough time with just eight of us skipping for the last three hours. Such amazing people that we work with!”

“The Skip-a-thon brought out the best in people with great team work and individual work ethics being shown the whole way through. The local community were all fired up and there was a great sense of trust being developed and shown by their involvement.”

Craig is a recipient of the 2014 Vodafone Foundation World of Difference programme. He is passionate about helping the young people in Flaxmere and is working hard to raise funds needed to extend his programme working with young people to inspire and create life-long opportunities for them.

A special dinner being held this Friday night 19th September in Hastings, to encourage more local exposure to Flaxmere Boxing Academy.  Boys will be leaving school early to be given a learning opportunity throughout the day being involved in the preparation and cooking of food for this event. On the night itself the boys will be serving dinner to 60 guests.

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