BOXING coach Liam Lathbury, who has dedicated years to helping youngsters in Chippenham stay out of trouble, fears his club has been dealt a knockout blow.

Liam, 39, who hoped he had a future as a professional boxer himself until he was forced to retire after failing a medical, fears Emeralds Boxing Club will have to close next month.

He is appealing to business and land owners in Chippenham to help him find a new home for his boxers.

At the moment the club leases a building from a London property company which bought the former West End club in Audley Road.

The club has been paying £3,000 a year in rent but has been told the building is to be re-developed for flats and they will have to leave when the lease runs out in August.

It may be possible for the club to stay on a short-term basis but the rent could increase to as much as £30,000 a year.

Liam, who is a Chippenham postman, said: “Our club is all about teaching youngsters respect. This helps them to keep out of trouble away from the club. It would be a terrible loss to the town if we have to close.

“We really need a building where we can leave up our ring and punch bags. If we can get a long lease we will be able to apply for a grant from Sport England and Boxing UK.”

Liam’s dad Martin Lathbury, who is secretary of the club, said: “We first opened our doors in July 2012 and have gone from strength to strength, producing no fewer than eight national champions and that’s far more than any other club in the area that have all been open for many years longer than us. We produced two girls who have represented England in the Three Nations Championships getting a gold medal and a bronze.

“We are a non profiting club and any money we have left over after paying the rent goes straight back into the club to replace equipment etc. All our coaches are volunteers, nobody gets a penny, we all give up our time for free.”

He said the club was only told last week that it would have to leave its premises. Martin said: “We did anticipate this happening some time in the future and have been trying to secure an alternative premises but to no avail.

“Nobody wants to help, the local council just fob us off and many of the commercial sites we have enquired about are just asking ridiculously high rent that’s way beyond what we can afford.

“We are pleading with anyone out there who can help us to come forward.”

A spokesman for the landlord said the company had no immediate plans to redevelop the site and had not told the boxing club it had to leave. But he said that the club had been paying 50p per square foot of premises and this needed to rise to between £6 and £8 to be economic.

If you can help ring Liam on 07717 858188 or email