A Grimsby rugby coach is feeling fit and raring to go as he prepares to fight in a charity boxing match in memory of his nana Jean.
Tom England has seen a lot of people in his family struggle with cancer over the years and wanted to raise awareness and money for Cancer Research UK.
After knee injuries put a stop to his rugby playing career in 2020, he missed the contact aspect of the sport and wanted to try something different.
He decided to combine boxing with raising money for charity, and his fight will now be even more poignant after the sad death of his nana Jean England on February 27.
The day after his nana’s funeral Tom’s family, friends and team-mates will turn up to support him at the Ultra White Collar Boxing event at the ‘Beachcomber’ in Grimsby at 5.30pm on Saturday, March 26.
He won’t find out his opponent until a few days before the charity bout, but standing tickets are still available here priced at £25.
The 28-year-old will be boxing under the name Thomas The Tank England and has already raised more than £1,400 – donate to the fundraiser here.
He will fight in memory of his nana Jean, who he described as the “heart of the family”, saying even when she was unwell, she would still “make a laugh and joke about things and made everybody smile”.
Tom, who works as a patient flow co-ordinator at A&E in Grimsby, told The Lincolnite: “I have never boxed before and started training last year, but a knee injury delayed things further.
“Training has since been going really well. I train five times a week, including twice with a boxing coach.
“I am feeling confident and strong. It is going to be an emotional night for everyone.
“The funeral is the day before on the Friday [March 25], and I have got all my family coming to support me at the fight. All the rugby guys are coming as well which means the world to me.”
Tom played rugby from the age of 11, including in the England Rugby Schools set up, as well as for Leicester Tigers Academy, Nottingham and Grimsby.
He has been coaching the first team at Grimsby Rugby Club, alongside Chris Garstin, since the 2018/19 season which culminated in league title success and Lincolnshire Cup glory.
Tom said: “The rugby family has been great. They have been there for me through thick and thin, not just with losing my nana, but with other challenges in my life.
“They have been absolutely ace and they’ll come and support me on the night of the fight. I also want to thank everyone that has donated, and my sponsor Front Row Fencing. I want to hit my goal of raising £1,500.”
Meanwhile, there will be a taste of the South Pacific at Grimsby RUFC this summer, with traditional food, music, dancing, games, and of course rugby, with a 7s rugby tournament.
Tickets are now on sale ranging from £13.50 to attend the event, including free camping, to £140 per for entering a team of 10 in the competition – buy tickets online here.