A SCHOOLGIRL boxer has won her – and her club’s – first medal for England.

Megan Bainbridge, from Pelton, near Chester-le-Street, picked up the medal after being selected to represent England in the Four Nations tournament.

The 14-year-old, who is a pupil at North Durham Academy, Stanley, is the first boxer from Brandon Boxing Club, which started in 2013, to win a gold medal for her country.

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Coach Alex Oliver said: “It’s our first ever gold medal for England and it couldn’t have happened to a better girl.

“She’s had a difficult season with an injured hand. It would have put a lot of people off but she’s stayed in the gym and kept working hard

“The whole area is over the moon for her.”

The club, which is based at Brandon and Carrside Youth and Community Centre, in Brandon, has just been given a financial boost with a £5,000 donation for a new ring and training equipment.

The Banks Group made the donation to allow the club to but a second training ring, ten new pairs of sparring gloves, ten headguards, new punchbags and new floor mats which will provide a better surface for members to train on.

The club, which is hoping to move to a new location at Brandon Cricket Club later this year, now has more than 100 members and has six training sessions a week with ten qualified coaches.

Mr Oliver added: “The ethos of the club is that whoever you are and whatever experience you have, you’ll get the chance to train and develop new skills in a positive and encouraging atmosphere, and our success has very much come from this approach.

“Boxing is about much more than ring skills - we work just as hard on developing our young members’ fitness, confidence and character, and we’ve seen a huge difference in the way in which many of them have developed as people.

“The funding we’ve received from the Banks Group is making an unbelievable difference to the work we’re able to do - we’ve got all the facilities we need to have up to 40 people training in the gym at any one time, and doubling the amount of ring space that we can offer will have a real impact on the speed at which our boxers can develop and refine their skills.”

Lewis Stokes, community relations manager at the Banks Group, said: “The success that Brandon Boxing Club has enjoyed in just a few short years is extremely impressive, and we hope the support we’ve provided will further enhance the excellent work they’re doing with young people across local communities.”