WEST HAM BOYS Amateur Boxing Club are celebrating this week with the news that a plan to move them out of their famous gymnasium at the rear of Plaistow s Black Lion Pub will not go ahead. It was feared that developers were going to knock the pub down and
WEST HAM BOYS Amateur Boxing Club are celebrating this week with the news that a plan to move them out of their famous gymnasium at the rear of Plaistow's Black Lion Pub will not go ahead.
It was feared that developers were going to knock the pub down and build new housing on the site, but those ideas have been shelved.
Hammers' secretary Lianne Jameson led the campaign and was delighted with the news.
"The support was tremendous, with over one thousand names on our petition," she said.
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Club officials were horrified by an application before Newham Council for the planning permission to knock down the existing gym and build nine flats on the current site.
But Black Lion publican Tom Friel has withdrawn his planning application to Newham Council for the development and insisted it had all been blown out of proportion and that he is quite happy to honour the club's lease, which allows them to stay until 2013.
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"It has all been a misunderstanding," he said this week.
"Somebody has jumped the gun - it was never my intention to shut down an old and historic club like West Ham Boys Boxing Club.
"I had offered the club a new gym area in the development and I was waiting to have talks with them when I saw all the publicity in the press and TV saying West Ham was facing closure."
For secretary Jamieson the news is a huge relief.
"We have been behind the Black Lion since 1922 and our gym is steeped in history," she said.
"Why take away something that is a vital part of the community and serves a genuine purpose as well as keeping kids off the streets?
"It gives them somewhere to channel their natural aggression and teaching them great discipline that only a sport like boxing can."
The gym, the Hammers home for over 80 years, has become one of the best known landmarks on the London boxing scene, developing hundreds of national champions, including Terry Spinks, who went on to win the Olympic gold medal in Melbourne in 1956.
Many boxing champions joined TV and showbusiness personalities adding their names to the lengthy list of protesters responding to the news that the club was fighting for survival.
It now seems that people power has won the day!