Alan Parry’s work with The Lion boxing club in Hoxton is into its fifth decade – and the club has a brighter future than ever, he tells the Gazette.

Hackney Gazette: Alan Parry, chairman of The Lion Club in Hoxton, with colleagues and young people. Picture: Polly HancockAlan Parry, chairman of The Lion Club in Hoxton, with colleagues and young people. Picture: Polly Hancock (Image: Archant)

A retired accountant who lives in Southend might not sound like someone playing an integral role in Hackney’s sporting community.

But Alan Parry’s 45-year association with Hoxton’s The Lion Club, which earned him a British Empire Medal in 2012, has helped generations of young boxers in east London.

In his time Alan has brought the first Estonian boxing club to fight in the UK, taken the club to a “state of the art” new home in Pitfield Street with the help of Ray Winstone, and scrapped the club’s “boys-only” rule.

“The club has come a long way,” said Alan, 73.

It was Alan who drew up plans five years ago for the old club building to be knocked down and replaced by a seven-storey block, with three floors of homes funding the club on the lower levels.

After getting 1,000 signatures on a petition supporting the move and the public support of Homerton’s Hollywood actor Ray Winstone, the council approved the development.

And The Lion Club moved into its new premises eight weeks ago, having been training in temporary accommodation near The Angel, Islington.

“The build has really secured our future,” said Alan.

“The club is doing great at the moment and we’ve got about 30 boxers, boys and girls, coming in every night of the week.”

Despite running the club for decades and making the long journey to be there for training sessions several times a week, Alan was never a boxer himself. “I was more of a football man when I was young,” he admitted.

He became involved with the club through a boxer friend. When he found out it needed help with paperwork, he stepped in to offer his financial expertise. The club hasn’t looked back since.

“We’ve got lots of young talent coming through now,” he said. “Will Coakley, one of our lads, was in the semi final of the youth championships for Great Britain and we’ve got lots of other great young boxers.”

On receiving his British Empire Medal in 2012, Alan said: “I love what I do and really enjoy my work with the club. But to have that recognised with the medal made me really, really pleased.”