Emma McDowell


Emma is a born and bred Lincolnite having lived in the city all her life, only disappearing every now and then to continue studying her Media Degree in Nottingham.

Cousins Shawn Burton (pictured right) and Aaron Robinson are currently putting the final touches to their new gym and martial arts club, Lincoln Fight Factory, which will open its doors on August 6.

The club, located in Unit 3 of Vulcan Park on George Street, offers 3050 square foot of room for martial arts training and exercise.

The unit will become the new home of the Lincoln Kickboxing Academy and will allow its members access to equipment and a 16 square foot ring.

Burton (24) said: “The gym has everything that a gym should have and much more. 

“There are punch bags, focus pads, kick shields, gloves, a running machine, bikes, weights, cross trainers, a coffee bar, changing facilities, and a club shop to name a few things. 

“It is a place for everyone to train and socialise.”

Alongside them, kickboxer Callum Thomson will be holding classes for Black Dragons, British Thai Boxing Champion Leigh Edlin will run Thai boxing classes and Glen Wright and Andy Parr will run Mixed Martial Arts Classes.

Shawn ‘Boom Boom’ Burton and Aaron ‘The Anvil’ Robinson, both from Lincoln, are known in the city for their kickboxing achievements.

They have fought professionally in the sport for a number of years and in 2009 took over the Lincoln Kick Boxing Academy based at Bracebridge Boxing Club.

However, the pair saw the number of academy members grow rapidly, from around 12 people per class to 30.

Burton, who works for Lincolnshire County Council when he’s not training, said: “It came to a point where we had outgrown the Bracebridge Boxing Club so began to look around for a bigger location and luckily came across the unit on George Street.

“The work that’s gone into the new gym has been a long and drawn out process, from the paperwork to the fittings, but we are now only a week away from opening.

“It has taken a lot of hard work and we owe lots of people a huge thank you, most of all my grandad, Trevor Burton.”

Burton and Robinson will share ownership of the gym and both continue to teach their kickboxing skills to members.

“The classes are designed to not only teach the martial arts we offer, but to help improve fitness, gain confidence, learn discipline, manage weight and make new friends.

“Those interested could one day even move onto the fight circuit too. We want to encourage people to come down on August 6 and really see what we have to offer.”

The duo made their own fighting debuts at very young ages and have never looked back since, having created very successful kickboxing careers for themselves.

A grand opening was held on Saturday, July 23, to celebrate the new branch of exotic pet shop, LA Reptiles.

The newest store, situated on St Martin’s Lane near Lincoln High Street, is an expansion following the success of its first store in Grantham, which they opened only five months ago on Valentine’s Day.

Business owners Andy Ferguson and Liam Benson have shared their love for reptiles since being friends at school.

The duo invited Lincoln locals along at the weekend to mingle with their exotic friends, including a variety of snakes, lizards, water dragons and frogs.

For those who prefer all things creepy, LA Reptiles also stock spiders and are hoping to eventually bring scorpions to the Lincoln branch in the near future, as they continue to expand.

LA Reptiles sells everything needed to care for a reptile, from heating and lighting appliances, to live food, antibacterial cleaners, housing and vivarium furniture which are things people do not often account for when purchasing an exotic pet for the first time.

Speaking of their move to the city, Ferguson said, “We knew there was already a reptile scene quite well established in Lincoln and a lot of people share an interest for them here.

“We know people will appreciate that some reptiles are sometimes harder to get hold of or might be more expensive than others, and we want to be able to give them that choice and be able to offer that bit more.”

One particular resident at the Lincoln branch of LA Reptiles is a prime example of the variety of creatures in store.

Mr Ferguson explained how their Dumeril’s Boa, a protected species of snake, needs more care than the more common snakes people are likely to have in their home.

“Our Dumeril’s Boa is a lot less common, she needs signed paperwork, to be micro chipped and is licensed because she is a rarer species.”

However, like the rest of the reptiles available to buy, the snake is captive bred and the pair go out of their way to make sure every customer is well advised when it comes to caring for any reptile.

“We aim to be as helpful as possible. We want people to feel that they can come into the store for any information or advice. We want to be loyal to the customers to ensure customers are loyal to us.

“A lot of people are unaware of what is actually needed to care for a reptile if they have never cared for one before, so we want to share our knowledge and allow easy access to what they require through our extensive range.”

The reptile lovers are keen to continue showing people that there is no need to fear the creatures, often doing so with the help of a third member of their team.

“We have Buttercup, a 14ft Albino Burmess Python who is a permanent resident at the Grantham store and somewhat of a celebrity at LA Reptiles!”

See the gallery of the store below:

Photos: Samantha Fisher for The Lincolnite