A WOMAN is competing in an amateur boxing match in memory of her partner who died in a car accident, to raise funds for the Great North Air Ambulance Service (GNAAS).
Jayne Stephenson, 32, from Ingleby Barwick, Stockton, will take part in a three round match during an evening of charity boxing in Eston Sports Village in Middlesbrough on March 25.
Miss Stephenson is fundraising for GNAAS because in 2008 her partner of eight years, Andrew Dodds, was involved in a serious car accident on Low Lane near Ingleby Barwick.
She said: “GNAAS did everything they could. They revived him on the roadside before taking him to James Cook University Hospital but he suffered multiple injuries and died later in the hospital.
“Andrew was a fun-loving man who was a really great dad to our two little girls Isabelle and Bethany, who were aged three and one at the time.”
Miss Stephenson said she was now channelling her energy into a programme called True White Collar Boxing. Run by Teesside Muay Thai Gym, the programme offers eight weeks of free training for participants raising at least £50 for charity.
She said: “I did the same thing around a year ago because I really wanted to challenge myself and improve my fitness levels. The training is gruelling but I’m going to pay for extra lessons because I really want to win.”
Miss Stephenson, a housing manager for Thirteen Group, said the tension was building for the bout but she was taking inspiration from friends and family.
“I’m so nervous,” she added. “I don’t know who I will be competing with until two days before the event but it will be an amateur boxer who has had the same training as me.
“Some of my family and work colleagues will be there on the night so I’ll have two tables of supporters cheering me on. They say I’m brave and stupid but they also really hope I win because I’m so competitive.”
Miss Stephenson is now asking for donations to be made to GNAAS through a sponsorship page at justgiving.com/fundraising/Jayne-Stephenson6
She said: “GNAAS is an invaluable service and more awareness needs to be raised about the charity as it requires so many donations. You don’t realise how much effort goes into raising the funds that keeps them going. I think a lot of people just assume it will always be there and don’t think about the cost of keeping it running.”