A Sheffield man has been recognised for his services to boxing and the development of young people in the New Year's Honours list.
Leslie Tomlinson, aged 73, has been awarded an MBE in recognition of his dedication and passion for amateur boxing having volunteered at Sheffield Boxing Centre, in Hillsborough for the past 35 years.
For many aspiring boxers coming through the centre he is just the type of character needed to take them through their paces with his no nonsense toughness balanced by a love for the discipline of boxing and those who undertake it.
Leslie has dedicated over 35 years of his life to the sport, volunteering at least four-and-a-half hours each weekday and four hours every weekend to coach youngsters in Sheffield.
This amounts to more than 50,000 hours, and having coached on average 70 young people a year in total that equates to over 2,500 young people’s lives he has impacted since 1982.
Leslie was initially attracted to boxing after his son got into the sport, and his passion then lead him to take exams to become a professionally qualified trainer around 15 years ago, gaining high boxing credentials such as his ABA amateur assistant, amateur full and amateur seniors.
This led him to coach at international tournaments, and be recognised by the British Boxing Board of Control, all while running his own auto-electrical business.
However, such is his dedication to Sheffield Boxing Centre, they now consider him to be part of the fixtures and fittings.
Despite dedicating his life to boxing, he has also found time to represent the club in other ways, by running 12 full and four half marathons.
Leslie got into running as a way to keep fit, and now runs every Saturday in between coaching.
He has raised more than £9,000 for charities such Macmillan Cancer Support, Sheffield Children’s Hospital, Sheffield’s Thornbury Hospital and the RNLI.
He has also become an important part of a small, committed team of SBC volunteers who annually host a charity fight night for Sheffield Children’s Hospital, which has alone raised more than £40,000.
Speaking of the honour, Leslie said: “When I received the call and they told me about the MBE my legs went like jelly, it was a total shock.
“That’s the nicest thing, to get the recognition at the end of the tunnel.
“Boxing gives the young people a goal in life, it’s a way of life. I don't see myself giving it up.
“I have tried retiring and will tell the young members but they always say you can’t get away.
“I don’t want to give it up really. As long as I’m fit and active I will keep going.”
Michael King, who became Sheffield Boxing Centre Manager in 2010, has also been awarded and MBE for services to disadvantaged young people in Sheffield.