‘We lost everything’: Woodburn Boxing Club fights back after floods

ABOVE Gavin Begbie, on the right, in the ring at the Evans Head RSL boxing bouts. Photo: Sharon Richards

Susanna Freymark

Gavin Begbie has put his “heart and soul” into the Woodburn Amateur Boxing Club.

He has been involved in the club for 12 years and has been club president for five.

On March 1, floodwaters went over the roof of the club on Redwood Lane.

“We lost everything,” Gavin said.

Like many Woodburn residents, Gavin is dealing with the flood trauma and damage to his home.

He and wife Maxine were rescued at the height of floods by locals in a tinnie.

“Our house is totally destroyed. My wife is an antiques dealer and 90% of the antiques are gone,” he said.

“I’m gutted, it’s a double whammy.”

Gavin is an ex-professional boxer. He is trying to get a government grant to help rebuild the decimated boxing club.

“We can’t give up,” he said.

Gavin Begbie is ready to fight for the small club in Woodburn. This time not in the ring. Photo: Contributed

“We lost our floor and the carpet underlay. The army came in and helped move the heavy boxing bags that were full of water and the RFS gernied the floor.

“The bags were chock-a-block full of floodwater.”

Gavin applied online for a sports and recreation flood grant.

“It’s been really difficult, I’ve had to jump hurdles,” Gavin said of the grant process.

He went and saw Service NSW.

He couldn’t get the grant because the club is not for profit and doesn’t have an ABN number.

He’s getting one today so he can apply for the Disaster Relief Sporting and Recreation Club grants.

“Fingers crossed,” he said.

Gavin is concerned Services NSW will knock back the club because they got their ABN after the flood event.

He decided to set up a crowd funder with a target of $25,000. The money will refurbish the club and buy new boxing equipment.

It will be a lot of small stuff we’ll need, Gavin said, like boxing gloves, a whiteboard.

“We’ve got nothing,” he said.

It will take months for the club to re-establish itself.

Other boxing clubs have offered help including Kyogle and Ballina clubs who have boxing bags.

In the meantime, Australia Post is using the club’s building for a post office and paying a nominal rent.

Clubs like this boxing club are important for the community to get back to ‘normal’ after this catastrophic flood.

If you can help with a small donation to the fundraiser, you’ll be helping a small club fight back.

The women’s boxing sessions at the Woodburn Amateur Boxing Club were popular before the floods. Photo: Susanna Freymark
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