[caption id="attachment_4587" align="alignright" width="300"] Hull Saints Boxer Millie O'Neill is to represent Great Britain[/caption]
A teenage boxer from a west Hull club which is supported by the Neil Hudgell Trust is preparing to represent Great Britain in Hungary as part of the England squad for the European Junior Championships.
At just 16 years old, Millie O’Neill, is the only female in Hull to hold two Yorkshire boxing titles and two national titles.
She is the latest success story from Hull Saints Amateur Boxing Club (ABC), which was awarded £800 from the Trust.
The club used the money to buy top quality head guards for its members, which play a vital role in boxing training and ensure Millie can fight in comfort and be well protected.
Now, Millie, who only began boxing three years ago, has secured a place on the England squad following a four-day selection process.
She will compete in the European Junior Championships in Hungary at 50kg weight, demonstrating how much she has achieved in such a short space of time.
Millie, a former Kelvin Hall School pupil whose next step is college, said: “I’m not really nervous yet. I’m looking forward to it as I have lots of friends in the squad.
“I got a head guard from the money given to Hull Saints from the Trust, which I needed for my training. You’re expected to have your own equipment, so it’s great.
“My friends all support me and think it’s cool that I’m going to another country to compete. I would really like to go as far as I can with England and see where it takes me. I want to do as well as possible and maybe make a career out of boxing.”
Millie has to follow a strict diet, exercise and training programme as she prepares for each fight or competition, running or swimming each morning, followed by a boxing session in the gym at night.
She will go to the England training camp in Manchester on August 10 before flying to Hungary on August 15 and returning home on August 23.
Millie’s mother, Dawn, 52, said: “We are very proud of her. I don’t know many 16-year-olds who are as dedicated and willing to give up opportunities to be with their friends and follow their dreams.
“She trains six days a week at Hull Saints and we drove to Birmingham recently for a three hour session, as well as Merseyside. Wherever the England squad are training up and down the country, that’s where she has to go.
“Millie played rugby, cricket and football from the age of eight, and during the down time at football, she was bored and went boxing, becoming national champion during her first year.
“Millie is a very strong-willed and determined character, and she gives everything she does her total attention.”
Dawn, who is also club secretary at Hull Saints ABC, said Millie’s success is linked directly to the Trust’s support of the club, through the grant it awarded.
She said: “It’s wonderful that you can access funding through the Trust that makes such a difference to people’s lives. They make it very accessible and they’re giving something back to the community.
“Without support from the Trust and other backers this may not have been possible for Millie and for other upcoming boxers. Hull Saints ABC would like to thank the Trust for the support we have received and Millie is grateful for it helping her fulfil her potential.”
A total of £100,000 is available from the Neil Hudgell Trust over a 12-month period and groups can apply for grants of up to £2,500.
Some individual applications fall short of the trust’s specific grant criteria, so have instead been awarded discretionary grants where the panel feel the individual is deserving of support.
Jo Hudgell, chair of the Trust, said: “It’s great to see Millie is doing so well and giving it her all to achieve her dreams of success. We were delighted to give this grant to Hull Saints ABC as they continue to encourage their members to strive for the best.
“It’s wonderful to see such determination and dedication and we wish Millie all the very best for Hungary and beyond.”