Norman Butler gets ready to rumble and hopes to avoid getting smashed for SMASH
Norman Butler from Westlea is putting himself on the line in the boxing ring to raise money for the Swindon charity which works with vulnerable young people aged 13 to 18 years.
Having mentored two young people, he is taking a break because of work and family commitments and has focussed on raising money and awareness of the work done by SMASH which is facing another funding crisis from April.
Norman said, “excuse the pun but the work of SMASH has a big knock on effect in society. By giving opportunities to kids who, through no fault of their own, aren’t able to fulfil their potential, it reduces offending rates and takes the burden off social services. ”
Norman receives tips from Swindon’s favourite boxer Jamie Cox
Last year Norman undertook a triathalon and a half marathon for SMASH. On Saturday 23 January he will, after several months training, take on an opponent over three rounds at Swindon Boxing Academy.
“Boxing is one of the toughest challenges I have undertaken,” said Norman. “Getting hit is not something I am going into lightly at the age of 45. Although I’m big, I’ve no instinct to hit anybody. So I’m looking for people to sponsor me, for SMASH and out of sympathy for me.
“Seriously I’ve suffered bloody noses, jarred jaws and not being able to close my mouth comfortably, black eyes, stiff neck and bruised arms and ribs. As the training has gone on, I’ve realised a great respect for people who box seriously.”
SMASH is largely sponsored from grants. Seventy per cent over the last three years came from a Big Lottery grant that will end in March.
Robert Chapell from SMASH said, “we’ve secured funding from Heritage Lottery Fund, NPower and most recently $40,000 from Alcatel Lucent. We are also in talks with Swindon Council about the possibility of them paying for some of our work and have applications for support from other grant giving organisations.
“Last year we saw a record number of young, vulnerable people referred to us for mentorship and help. They are referred at a point of crisis in their lives, but sometimes have to wait up to 12 months to receive the attention they need and deserve.
“Support from the community and local business has been fantastic and people have been making small donations from their own pockets. We’re working hard to ensure that the important work carried out by SMASH staff and volunteers can continue.”
Help Norman at: www.justgiving.com/normans_triandfight