Overcast

Overcast

max temp: 14°C

min temp: 11°C

Search

The pigs are coming. Find out more about

Pigs Gone Wild

here.

Ipswich: Inspirational Down’s Syndrome kickboxer wins first title

11:02 24 December 2012

Gavin Harvey, 29, who has Down

Gavin Harvey, 29, who has Down's Syndrome, has won his first belt at Ipswich Kickboxing Academy.

Archant

IPSWICH: A kickboxer who suffers from Down’s Syndrome is celebrating after winning his first belt at Ipswich Kickboxing Academy – after just four months of training.

Gavin Harvey, 29, of Thackeray Road, has impressed his instructors and sparring partners with his hard work ethic and positive attitude.

He won his first belt recently – passing his Red Belt 10th kyu, performing in front of the whole class.

Gavin said: “I was very proud of myself for getting my first belt. It was nerve-wracking having to do it in front of everyone but I’m very glad I got my first belt.

“My family and friends were very pleased for me. I get on with everyone at the club really well and they were really pleased for me.

“I think kickboxing is a great sport. I love it. It makes me very happy.”

Gavin, who is married to Katie, who also has Down’s Syndrome, has been training at Ipswich Kickboxing Academy for just four months, from Monday to Thursday every week.

Chief instructor Gary Staff believes kickboxing has given Gavin a whole new outlook in life. “He tells us we’re now part of his family,” he said.

“He was introduced to us through his carer, had a trial, liked us and it’s gone from strength to strength. He’s never looked back.

“He’s actually gone from being quite reserved to a much more confident person now. I think it’s brought more out of him. It’s helped him big time. He’s a changed person.

“He classes us as members of his family. It’s been brilliant getting to know him – he’s a great guy.”

Gary believes Gavin wanted to join the Ipswich Kickboxing Academy because he wanted to be part of a group – although Gary treats him just like anyone, telling him to do push-ups if he steps out of line.

“I treat him just like one of the guys. I don’t give him any special treatment because I believe in treating everyone the same.

“If he steps out of line he has to do press-ups just like everyone else.”

Gary, who has represented Great Britain in European kickboxing championships in a distinguished 25-year career, admits he has learnt a lot from teaching Gavin.

“It’s been a learning curve for me,” he added. “I’ve never taught someone who has Down’s Syndrome but I’m very passionate about what I do and have loved teaching him.”

0 comments

Abbie Howard, who died this month after suffering from cystic fibrosis.

A young Ipswich woman could have had a second chance at life if more people were willing to sign up as organ donors, her friends have said.

File picture of Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service at work.

Firefighters were called to the semi-detached property shortly after midnight.

A rise in the older population could put strains on health services. Getty Images/iStockphoto

New estimates predicting a steep rise in the region’s older population have prompted fears for the future of health services.

Some of the PhotoEast exhibition on the Ipswich Waterfront

Celebrations were enjoyed on Ipswich waterfront as the inaugural PhotoEast Festival was officially launched.

Stock image of the A14 near Bury St Edmunds.

One lane is blocked on the A14 westbound at Thurston due to a broken down van.

Work is underway on The Buttermarket in Ipswich.

Jack Wills is preparing to open in the former Croydons store, work on the Primark extension is nearing completion and the transformation of the Buttermarket Shopping Centre is now in its final stage.

Ipswich Crown Court.

An Ipswich man with “an entrenched and disturbing interest” in sexually abusing females has been jailed for 12 years.

Services could move from Colchester General Hospital to Ipswich Hospital, or vice versa.

Services at Colchester and Ipswich hospitals could merge where there is “a clinical case to do so” – but neither hospital will close.

Car has collided with a tree on Bury Road, Newmarket.

The father of Suffolk County Council leader Colin Noble has died following a road crash.

Suffolk People First conference in Kesgrave

Giving people with learning disabilities a chance to speak up and be heard is the key goal of Suffolk People First, a meeting organised by Stowmarket-based Advocacy organisation Ace Anglia.

Most read

Most commented

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Topic pages

Streetlife

Newsletter Sign Up

Great British Life

Great British Life
MyDate24 MyPhotos24