‘PUNCH POWER’ FOR LIVES LOST

A GROUP of amateur boxers are preparing to fight back against rising rates of poor mental health, with an epic charity fundraiser.
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White collar boxing event, ‘Punching for PIPS’, is the brainchild of caring father and daughter duo, Bernard and Clodagh McComiskey, from Gilford.

The show-stopping contest, which is to be held in the Bannville House Hotel on Saturday, April 13, will see competitors take to the ring in aid of two local mental health charities; PIPS and Changing Lives NI.

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It will feature a line-up of the Banbridge district’s own boxing enthusiasts, including: Stephen Brady, Sorcha McComiskey, Mark Blevins and Alister McDowell.

KNOCKOUT… Some of the competitors ready to throw themselves into the ring in aid of charities, PIPS and Changing Lives NI.KNOCKOUT… Some of the competitors ready to throw themselves into the ring in aid of charities, PIPS and Changing Lives NI.
KNOCKOUT… Some of the competitors ready to throw themselves into the ring in aid of charities, PIPS and Changing Lives NI.

The audience is also set to be ‘surprised’ on the night, as some former legends of the sport come out of retirement for the cause.

Organiser Clodagh has been running Boxfit classes in Gilford ABC for a number years, and has been working tirelessly to piece together the event.

She spoke of her motivation behind it all: "Sadly, in our small community of Gilford and the surrounding areas we have lost a number of young lives due to suicide in the past few years.

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"Some of our members have availed of support from these amazing charities, and know just how vital the work they do really is.

"This is a chance to demonstrate how powerful a whole community effort can be.

“We are privileged enough to be in a position to help others by raising as much money as possible.”

Clodagh has set her fundraising sights high, and is hoping to raise at least £10,000 which will be divided between the two charities.

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With 400 tickets already sold for the event, and almost £500 raised online, the extravaganza is sure to be a knockout!

PIPS Upper Bann will be a key beneficiary from the cash injection.

It aims to save lives and create awareness of suicide and self-harm, by providing mental health and emotional well-being support.

Meanwhile, Helping Hands NI is a newly-established charity based in Gilford.

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It seeks to help young people between the ages of 16-25, suffering from mental health illnesses and addiction.

Former Gilford boxer Stephen McConaghey will be donning his gloves on April 13 and said he “can’t wait”.

"When Clodagh and the team announced that they were doing a white collar night in aid of PIPS and Changing Lives NI, I jumped at the chance to get into the ring again.

“Both are great causes and, just like the service users, our charities need the help of the whole community.”

To purchase tickets for the event, visit McComiskey Fitness on Facebook.