Boxing returns to Winter Gardens

Frank Harrington with local boxers at the event at The Winter Gardens.
Frank Harrington with local boxers at the event at The Winter Gardens.

History was made at Morecambe’s Winter Gardens last Saturday night as boxing returned to the old theatre for the first time in nearly half a century.

A packed crowd of around 350 fight fans enjoyed a 13-bout card of action to raise money for 15-year-old Lancaster twins Katie and Emma Sutcliffe, who need a life-changing operation in America to help them walk.

The Coastal Boxing Promotions show, organised by local fight promoter and trainer Frank Harrington, was the first boxing event at the Winter Gardens since 1964.

“I think it went really well and it might be the first boxing show of many,” said Evelyn Archer, chair of the building’s owners, the Winter Gardens Preservation Trust.

“I don’t enjoy boxing but I did enjoy seeing the building used and the ring being in there.

“There are one or two things we can learn from next time. We need more gents toilets and will be looking at getting portable loos outside.”

Mr Harrington said: “I’m really happy, I thought it was the best show I’ve ever done.

“There were some quality fights and hopefully it’s helped to reignite the Winter Gardens. We hope to be back there again in March.”

Over £700 was raised on the night towards the Twins Appeal.

Katie and Emma, who have spastic diplegia cerebral palsy, both attended the show.

Their mum Caroline said: “It was a great event. I’d like to thank those people who donated for their kindness and generosity, and Frank and Coastal Boxing Promotions for supporting the Twins Appeal.”

Other VIP guests included former British and Commenwealth boxing champion and three-times world title challenger Michael Brodie, and Stan Parkinson, who boxed at the Winter Gardens in 1950.

Brandon McGuire, a 13-year-old boxer from Morecambe, won the first fight of the night beating Liam Hague.

The main event saw the return to the ring of Morecambe’s former Central Area Bantamweight Champion Marcus Duncan, who boxed a draw with Caton’s Rob Newbiggin.

Other local boxers victorious on the show included Steven Douglas, Sean Coxon, Steven Moore, Danny Marshall, Scott Clarke and Harry Modley, great grandson of legendary Morecambe comedian Albert Modley who was a regular performer at the Winter Gardens in its heyday. The Visitor’s own Greg Lambert was Master of Ceremonies.