Fire halts boxing club

Raissa Tetanish
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AMHERST - Seeing the effects the Heather Arseneau Memorial Boxing Club had on a number of its participants, the instructor is hoping the program will once again be open for punches.

Roger Dorrington said he was up for anything the day after a fire caused extensive damage to the lower level of the Alpha Outreach Society's Crescent Avenue building where the club was situated.

"I really do think a boxing club is important for the area's youth. Some of those that came to boxing were really shy when they got here and they used the club as a confidence builder," Dorrington said Tuesday. "Even the discipline of (the sport) alone helped."

Following the fire, Dorrington made his way down to the club to see what was left in the area that would see an average of 12 to 15 participants per night.

"Everything is wet and the gear doesn't look like it can be used again for the public. The plan for us was to start the program again on the 14th."

The club has been operating for a number of years, first at the YMCA and then at the building that also houses CANSA on the main floor and three apartments on the upper level. Because of the warmer weather, the club took a short hiatus from the end of June until just after Labour Day every year.

Two years ago, the Amherst Lions Club helped the boxing club install a ring. There were also a number of heavy bags, speed bags and double ended bags.

The club had more than a dozen gloves to be used on the heavy bags, as well as on the two or three sets of punch pads at the club.

"People have been calling me because they wanted to start the season off fresh. We even had plans to install a changing and bathroom in the basement this year," Dorrington said.

Throughout the years, Dorrington has seen many participants come and go, and said those that first started with the club have been making their way back.

"It's been interesting to see it," he said, adding there was always someone new coming to the program as well.

"Hopefully there is a will and a way to get this program going again. I'm up for anything at this point."

Organizations: Heather Arseneau Memorial Boxing Club, Alpha Outreach Society, YMCA Amherst Lions Club

Geographic location: Crescent Avenue

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