Carpenter facing paralysis after roof fall recovers to fight in Stevenage charity boxing match
PUBLISHED: 12:03 12 October 2019
A carpenter warned by doctors he may never walk again after falling 12 feet from a roof and breaking his back has raised £1,500 in a charity boxing match after support from a Stevenage gym.
George Joyce, 45, broke part of his lower back while at work in 2015.
Unable to work, and facing a long road to recovery, the father-of-four couldn't pay his mortgage, but friends and family rallied round to raise £4,000 and keep his family from financial ruin.
George said: "I was overwhelmed with the generosity and kindness. I would have lost my house, and the kids wouldn't have had a Christmas.
"It just sums up the community spirit where I live."
Impressive willpower saw George make a full recovery and he decided, after receiving support from so many people, to give something back.
He signed up to take part in an Ultra White Collar Boxing event at Stevenage Arts and Leisure Centre in aid of Cancer Research UK, receiving eight weeks of free professional boxing training before the big day.
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George was still managing the physical and psychological consequences of his fall - he had lost all nerve endings in his lower back, and was haunted by memories of the incident.
He said: "I'd have flashbacks of the fall, and would burst into tears going near a hospital."
But he trained three times a week at Renegade Gym in Stevenage and said: "Training was the toughest thing I've ever done, but the most enjoyable too."
On the night, a 600-strong crowd watched him take on three two-minute rounds against a fireman called Len.
George, who raised £1,500 for Cancer Research UK, said: "It was the most amazing adrenaline rush," and the referee called a draw.
He added: "A lot of people helped me, so it was my way of giving something back."
Jon Leonard, who runs Ultra White Collar Boxing, said: "What an amazing achievement by George, given all he has been through.
"He should feel very proud of himself for raising so much money for a fantastic charity."
George, who lives in Buntingford, now works as an assistant site manager, managing health and safety standards on building sites, and ensuring others do not suffer his fate.