CLUB HISTORY

The club has its roots as far back as the early 1930’s when it was a Pro/Am set up and participants would arrange contests in back yards of pubs and stables for “nobbins” (thrown into the ring) or “winner take all”.

Some even made the grade at professional level, boxing throughout the country. Wally Curtis boxed a world title contender, Sammy O’Sullivan boxed on fairground booths, as did Jimmy Longton who had over 300 contests. Johnny Sullivan won the world middleweight title.

Then in 1951 the purely amateur boxing club was formed, headed by Fred Hurst and several business people from Chorley.

Chorley boys/Lads club had their H.Q in the cellar of the parish institute on park road but this was demolished in the 1950’s.

Many boys, whilst taking part for their fitness as athletes and even gymnasts were not interested in boxing competitively so the club joined the national association of boys clubs and applied for the possibility of new premises to be purchased under the association’s banner and a working committee was formed under the president-ship of Sir Stanley Bell.

The build-up finance in order to purchase new premises, various events were organised. One of which being Chorley rotary club had a one week hobbies exhibition in the town hall raising £450 for the club.

A large rambling house “the View” in Brown Street was offered by the council which was due for demolition. The national association of boys clubs accepted the offer which would need a lot of converting estimated at £2,400 was granted by the ministry of education and the club was to raise the other £1,200 which it did as previously stated by numerous events much of which was from the ladies committees efforts, e.g. A fashion show, dances at the town hall, one of which was attended by Frankie Vaughn, the number 1 singer at the time who offered young women kisses for 1 shilling (5 p in today’s money)

On completion, the new premises now called Chorley boys and girls club were opened by his highness the duke of Gloucester on 5th of February 1957. The boxing section continued producing champion after champion. It is understood that the first ever televised amateur boxing show took place at Chorley Town hall, followed by a national championship tournament, also televised. The town hall then became the regular divisional senior championship venue for many years.

The youth club in Brown Street proved so successful, an application was made by the then Chorley education officer to build a new club in the town primarily autonomous from the boxing section. This was eventually approved, however in the early 1960’s the brown street club was destroyed by a fire and the only artifact that was salvaged was the granite plaque commemorating the visit by the duke of Gloucester, which is now on the wall of the club in the Lyons lane.

The Chorley community centre committee members offered the use of their premises on railway road whilst application was made for the boxing club to be incorporated within the proposed youth centre.

The only drawback on using the community centre premises was that the only available part was the cellar which in winter, members had to sweep away the snow blown through the broken window and under the door, what was the alternative? None.

The application to joining the proposed new centre was granted and the monies from the insurance from the fire were to be used which was held in trust by Chorley town council. However when the plans were drawn, no gymnasium had been included. This meant a further delay whilst a new application was made. Thankfully it was granted.

The land on Lyons lane where the current building lies was donated by Michael Reardon, the owner of Reardon plant hire, to be utilised for the youth of Chorley.

The new building was eventually erected with a gymnasium which was considerably smaller than members were used to. This was 1963/64. The boxing section was renamed “Chorley Amateur Boxing Club”, and the Lancashire education authority gave the committee the option to become autonomous and self-financing, paying an insurance premium. The offer was accepted.

The club ran in the restricted area until the mid- 1970’s when further applications were made to the queens Silver jubilee committee for a grant but only after a payment had been made to the committee two years earlier from a town hall tournament. The grant plus money raised from boxing tournaments run in the area amounted to £3,800 and the extension was approved doubling the gym in size.

The official opening by the then mayor Councillor A.E. Lowe on 4th May 1979 and the gym was named the F.W. Hurst Gymnasium in recognition for his sterling efforts and loyalty to the club since 1951.

Chorley amateur boxing club has successfully produced boxers who have won 33 National titles and represented England at international contests on 28 occasions.

They have boxed in Denmark, Germany, Scotland, Wales, Ireland and even Russia on three occasions.

Listed below are some of the names of boys and young men who aspired in this, their chosen sport as pure amateur since 1951.