PEOPLE in Darlington who are trying to get fit after lockdown have the opportunity to take up a new sport and train to compete in front of a crowd – all while raising money for a good cause.

Ultra White Collar Boxing (UWCB) is staging its next event in Darlington at the Dolphin Centre in July.

The organisation, which has raised more than £116,000 for Cancer Research UK through previous events in the town, is looking for people to undergo eight weeks of training, before taking part in a bout in front of hundreds of their friends, family and colleagues.

The Darlington event is scheduled to take place on July 23 and training begins in the week starting May 31.

Those taking part do not have to pay for the training, but are asked to raise a suggested minimum of £50 for Cancer Research UK and sell tickets for their event.

It is open to anyone aged 18 and over, and the eldest competitor to date was 70.

For their bout of three two-minute rounds, competitors are evenly matched in their training group with boxers of similar ability.

Jon Leonard, from Ultra White Collar Boxing, said: "Of course, our efforts to raise money for this important charity to carry out its vital work have been hit very hard. All our fundraising efforts are down to the incredible people who take part and put in eight weeks of hard work to achieve their goal.

“I would say to anyone in Darlington thinking of taking part to give it a go - it is an excellent opportunity to take up a new challenge after the end of lockdown.

“Everyone is welcome. The bonds which are formed amongst our competitors are incredible with many people who would never have met in everyday life forming lifelong friendships.”

UCWB is aiming to raise £1million for Cancer Research UK in July.

So far, it has raised almost £20 million for the charity, with more than 160,000 people taking part – most stepping into a boxing ring for the first time.

World Champion boxer Tyson Fury was so impressed with the efforts of one young man who took part to help him combat his mental health issues he sent him a personal video wishing him luck in his contest.

Simon Ledsham, director of fundraising at Cancer Research UK, said: “The success of Ultra Events and the £22m raised so far is phenomenal.

“We are so grateful to the organisers behind each event, every person that signs up to take part and the generosity of their friends and family who sponsor them.

“Together they are helping to fund our pioneering research into the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cancer.

“The truth is, Covid-19 has slowed us down.  But we will never stop and we are absolutely determined to continue to create better cancer treatments for tomorrow.

“We remain reliant on the generosity of the public to fund our life-saving work and we’re eagerly anticipating the return of fundraising events with all necessary Covid-19 guidelines in place.

“Thanks to research funded by supporters, who take part in activities like an Ultra Event, today two in four people survive cancer – and our ambition is to accelerate progress so that within the next 20 years, this figure will reach three in four and enable more families to stay together for longer.”

Anyone interested in taking up the UWCB challenge can visit