Country’s top clergyman steps into the boxing ring in Corby

The Archbishop of Canterbury with thai boxing trainer Lee Wills
The Archbishop of Canterbury with thai boxing trainer Lee Wills

The Archbishop of Canterbury visited the Chapel Gym in Corby to find out about the huge impact the facility is having on the town.

He spent some of Wednesday (April 10) talking with a number of gym members as well as trying out some Thai Boxing with experienced instructor Lee Wills and young fighter Dolton Palmer.

Reverend Paul Frost, gym manager Chris McGlone and Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby

Reverend Paul Frost, gym manager Chris McGlone and Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby

A keen runner, Archbishop Welby praised the work of the charity-run gym that offers hope to several ex-offenders as well as those looking for some direction in their lives.

He was especially impressed to see how local Christians are willing to engage with those who don’t normally connect with church and was inspired to hear stories of how the gym has impacted the lives of young and old alike.

Rev Paul Frost, Rector of St John’s Church and a managing trustee of the gym said: “The Archbishop understood the groundbreaking work we’re doing at the Chapel Gym and commented that this is the kind of place that Jesus would have loved. For me that was the greatest compliment.”

Dr Paul Buckingham, managing trustee of the gym, said: “The Chapel Gym enjoys much support from Corby people and is making a big difference to many who struggle - to have this recognised by the Archbishop was a real honour.”

The Archbishop of Canterbury talking to gym member Robin Ambris-Ferguson

The Archbishop of Canterbury talking to gym member Robin Ambris-Ferguson

As both a gym and a church, the Chapel Gym aims to help people improve their physical, mental, and spiritual health.

It is run by St John’s Church, Corby, in the Church of the Epiphany, Elizabeth Street, Corby. It is a charity that aims to make fitness accessible to all. All profits are reinvested into the gym, provide free children’s classes, and facilitate work with charity partners including Homestart, Corby Mind, and S2S.

The Revd Justin Welby is the 105th Archbishop of Canterbury and spiritual leader of 85 million Anglicans worldwide.

Youn gym member Reece McCarron with the Archbishop of Canterbury

Youn gym member Reece McCarron with the Archbishop of Canterbury