Marc’s Hitchin boxing project saved my life says young homeless ‘Thai’

Volunteer sports coach Susan Lloyd and project leader Marc Campbell (front) with the Da 1 in ten spo

Volunteer sports coach Susan Lloyd and project leader Marc Campbell (front) with the Da 1 in ten sports mentoring projekt boxing class - Credit: Archant

A successful mentoring project for homeless people with boxing on the bill is proving to be a knockout in Hitchin as it helps people get their lives back on track.

A programme called ‘Da 1 in Ten Sports Mentoring Projekt’ takes place in Bancroft from 10am every Friday and is run by mentor Marc Campbell.

The scheme has been designed to help clients such as the homeless, those with mental health problems, alcohol and drug issues – as well as people with learning difficulties, and other socially excluded people.

Numbers are rising week on week, and the project is already credited with saving one person’s life.

Chokchai Wicham, originally from Chiang Rai in northern Thailand, saw his mother move to England to work as a cleaner when he was young. She settled in the village of Great Offley, and brought her son to England when he was six.

However, when Chokchai – known to all by his nickname ‘Thai’ – was in his teens he admits he fell in with the ‘wrong crowd’ and became homeless.

Thai, now 21, struggled with behavioural problems and alcohol and drug issues and faced a future without much hope.

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However, through Marc’s help, he now has renewed hope. The Comet visited the outdoor training which takes places in the Bancroft Bandstand and talked to Thai, who took time out from the rigorous training to speak.

He said: “I was a bit lost a while back. I fell in with the wrong crowd.

“This programme has really helped me. It has given me discipline and camaraderie, and some hope that I can get my life back on track.

“Marc has never judged me or anyone, he is just very supportive.

“I am hoping that I will be able to get a job and a flat, and it is through this programme making me feel worth something.

“I owe Marc and this scheme a lot. If I’d carried on down my route, life might be very different. You could say it has saved my life. It’s certainly helped give me hope again.”

Marc added: “We are open to anyone who is homeless or has other issues. We don’t judge anyone, we just try and help them through boxing. I am proud of Thai – and all the people who come to the group.”