Former Huddersfield gymnast and pub landlord Brian Hayhurst and his wife Elaine are ex-pats who have lived just outside Fuengirola on the Costa del Sol for 20 years. He writes every week for Huddersfield Hub.
What holidaymakers often don’t see in towns and villages here on the Costa del Sol are the literally hundreds of community groups and classes for dance, cultural events, music and sport held in a variety of rooms and clubs.
I had a chance meeting this week with a gentleman called Mark Collins, a specialist boxing and fitness coach, who came out on holiday 18 months ago.
He came partly to rest up and relax but found himself holding fitness classes on the beach before opening a very successful boxing club in Las Lagunas, about 3km from Fuengirola.
This highly motivated, respected and qualified boxing coach from West London spotted by chance, a semi-derelict ex martial arts club. And after finding the landlord and securing the premises he began turning the cold, concrete shell into a most colourful and busy club for people from the age of five upwards – male and female, seeking personal or group fitness training, combat sport and, of course, boxing.
For many years Mark was a senior coach at Dale Youth Boxing Club which took on board hundreds of young fighters including the well-known George Groves, an Olympic gold medallist in the Beijing 2008 Games.
The club was a haven for youngsters eager to get off the streets and learn a new sport. Another club he ran was Power-Day Hooks amateur club which raised several champions.
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Mark’s ambition for his Mijas Costa club is for it to continue to grow as a truly international venue for multiple male and female participants of all age groups, and ultimately coach a Spanish amateur champion, sooner rather than later.
The interior has now been fitted throughout its 200 square metre area with a specialised sprung carpet and overhead, a suspended ceiling with lots of equipment attached to it.
His enthusiasm alone is bound to make his venture a great success.
Finally, our thoughts are with the people of Ukraine and their friends and families around the world and also those closer to home who may be dealing with the aftermath of the recent storms and floods.