Terry Bruton is no stranger to 15-hour days, spending what little spare time he has thinking about what he can do better and waking up in the middle of the night with his next idea. All for his club.
Terry established Solway Spartans Boxing Club in Annan back in April 2015, in that time he has secured a Boxing Scotland affiliation, had to deal with a change of premises, welcomed hundreds of participants through the door and given thousands of hours of his own time to turn it into the thriving club it is today.
The dedicated coach usually starts his work at an animal feed at 6am, returning to his house briefly at 5pm before heading to the club until 9pm most nights.
His tireless work, alongside fellow coach Jim Tweedie, who Terry credits with giving as much to the Solway Spartans as he does, allows for an inclusive club where a wide range of ages and abilities get to reap the benefits of boxing.
At the Annandale and Eskdale Sports Awards in 2019, Terry’s efforts were rewarded when he was named the Coach of the Year, an award sponsored by sportscotland.
And Terry says his motivation lies solely with helping his boxers get the most out of the sport as they can.
The coach, who boxed himself and was a Scottish champion Muay Thai fighter, said: “I know how much boxing meant to me and I know how much it can give to people. It can give confidence and structure. Having the camaraderie with your club mates as well can help people immensely.
“A lot of that stands you in good stead for your life in general, not just in sport. Before I started the club there were no boxing clubs in Annan. I just thought let’s go for it and fortunately it’s been a major success.
“Every time I’m there I feel extremely proud seeing the club busy, when I started it from nothing. My wife and my boy must get sick of me because I’m always thinking of things I can do at the club, I might be trying to get to sleep then I get a brainwave of something we can do at the club and I’m up.
“I never stop thinking about things we can do to be better. I just want our club to be the best it can be and that’s what drives me on.”
Inclusion is a crucial part of Annan Solway Spartans Boxing Club. There are taster sessions for children as young as five, women and girls sessions and participants with disabilities and developmental disorders are also able to take part.
Several of the young people who attend do not take part in other sports and without the avenue of structured boxing have been at risk of offending previously.
Terry added: “It gets the kids off the streets, it can help keep them on the straight and narrow. Some of them would previously have been out getting into bother. We do weekends as well, a lot of the boys spend a lot of time at the club or going away to spar, that’s time that they would’ve spent elsewhere before. It’s given them a bit of structure.
“I’ve got a boy who has Asperger’s, the family say he’s a different boy now since he started coming regularly. His confidence has shot up. He’s going to box next year for me, he’s come on really well.
“We’ve got boys with Autism and they love it. We had a boy who has Down Syndrome as well coming to the beginners classes.
“I want to grow the women and girls’ classes, they’re going really well. We’ve not had any of the female boxers compete on cards for us yet but that’s something I want to change in future.”
The Boxing Scotland affiliation was a big step in the club’s progress, Terry’s young fighters now regularly compete in cards across the country. And when asked what his dreams were for the future of the club, Terry’s responses was a typically modest: “Just for the club to still be here and to keep developing our boxers to be the best they can be.”
But his ambitions for his fighters are high, he believes Annan can have champion boxers soon. He added: “We’ve not had any champions yet but that’s something I feel strongly we can achieve.”
With Terry involved it would be foolish to bet against them.
Chris Roberts, Boxing Scotland CEO, said: "Boxing Scotland is absolutely delighted to see Terry recognised for his continued commitment to the sport of Boxing and his community work in Annan.
“It was Terry’s perseverance and determination that initially helped get the club up and running, and it is great to see that Solway Spartans have gone from strength to strength, with inclusion at the heart of the club.
“Terry is one of a large number of boxing coaches across the country who put their blood, sweat and tears into their clubs and their boxers and provide an environment that can help to change individuals lives for the better.”
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And Boxing Scotland