A celebration of talent was held by a boxing club with an awards night paying tribute to a young fighter who lost his life in a car crash.
Enrik Rrukaj died at the age of 19 in April 2011.
A trophy in his name was presented by his brother to Bexhill Boxing Club’s most promising youngster which was an emotional moment for all who attended.
Enrik, who lived in Turkey Road, Sidley, attended the old Grove School in St Leonards and played for St Leonards Social FC.
He started training at West Hill Boxing Club in Hastings before joining Bexhill in September 2010. He won the Southern Counties title, and represented Southern Counties against the Midlands in one contest, and got to the quarter finals stage of the Golden Belt.
Coach Tone Godwin said: “The evening was a huge success and was enjoyed by all.
“The parents of all the kids who received an award were extremely pleased with them and the whole venue was buzzing with lots of love and proudness throughout.
“We were visited by Ronaldo Rrukaj who was invited to come and present his brothers trophy. The winner of the Enrik Rrukaj Trophy was the Best Club Junior Boxer of last season, a 13-year-old lad from Pebsham, Nakibul Khan, who has now competed for Bexhill Boxing Club four times and won each contest on a unanimous points decision every time. We feel that Nakibul is a big potential to go on and win further championships this season, and will be taking part in the National Schoolboy Championships this coming May.
“It seems justifiable that such a talent should win Enrik’s memorial trophy as he would have agreed with the coaches’ decision himself, I’m sure.”
Every member of the club was presented with a medal and this rounded off ‘an absolute peach of a Christmas event’, according to Tone.
There was also a raffle and a buffet made by Kim Godwin, Kerry Birch and members of the squash club. The evening was attended by Councillor Jimmy Carroll, and former England boxer Denis Pollard.
Tone also thanked fellow coaches Terry Freeman and Ben Pettet. He said: “Together they put this voluntary group into place three years ago and are proud it is going from strength to strength.” He also thanked Bexhill Squash and Social Club which offered to share premises.
“Without them we would still be training in the rain and dark at the top of Galley Hill,” he said.
The club is making plans for a bright future but is keen to find any sponsors to help ‘in any way possible’. The most pressing need is for help in travelling to competitions and shows around the country, and for this Bexhill Boxing club must have a minibus.
For more information call 07741 282569.