An accounts practitioner is getting fit for a boxing match to raise money for a cancer charity and to honour the memory of her cousin who was murdered in a brutal knife attack.
Sian French, 31, who works at the Pendine Park Care Organisation in Wrexham has signed up for the Ultra White Collar boxing event at Brymbo Enterprise Centre next Saturday night (March 30) and hopes to raise a punch bag full of cash for Cancer Research UK.
She was inspired to take to the ring after a close friend, Elaine Martin, from Ellesmere Port, suffered from breast cancer.
According to Sian, she will also be paying tribute to her much-loved cousin, amateur boxer Craig Maddocks, 34, from Llay, who was murdered in a frenzied attack in the toilet at the Cambrian Vaults pub in Wrexham in 2013.
His killer Francisco John Prevete, who stabbed Craig 52 times, was jailed for 23 years after being found guilty following the trial at Mold Crown Court.
After weeks of intense exercise at Russ Williams’ Martial Arts Centre in Wrexham, Sian “The Furious” French, is coming to the end of her gruelling training schedule in time for the match,
She said: “Elaine, who’s a close friend and former work colleague, has been fighting breast cancer for the past 12 months and has undergone both chemotherapy and radiotherapy.
“She has just had the all clear and attending the boxing event will be her first night out since she got the all clear last month. I want to make it a special night for her.
“And another close friend’s mum is currently being treated for pancreatic cancer.
“When I saw the sign in the gym advertising the Ultra White Collar Boxing event I just thought well if they can fight cancer I can go three two minutes rounds with an opponent if it raises a good sum of money for Cancer Research UK.”
She added: “I have never boxed before and if I’m honest I’m very nervous. But I have family members who have.
“I’m also going to be fighting in memory of my cousin Craig Maddocks who sadly lost his life to knife crime in Wrexham six years ago.
“Craig was a member of Llay Amateur Boxing Club and fought for Wales as an amateur too. Craig’s brother Danny also boxed for Llay.
“Danny now spends his time taking the anti-knife message around schools and the tragic consequences that can come from using knives to settle disputes.
“Another cousin, Nigel, also boxed for Llay and later joined the Parachute Regiment which he represented in the ring. He currently coaches at an RAF Boxing Club in Cyprus. My cousins have given me lots of advice.”
Sian, who lives in Bradley and is a former pupil of Ysgol Bryn Alyn School, is aiming to raise at least £500 for Cancer Research if she can.
She said: “Everyone who is taking part is raising funds for Cancer Research. We have all become good friends. Some are taking part just for the fun of it and for fitness while others have amazing stories.
“I know one girl is taking part in memory of her dad who she lost to cancer. I’ll find out shortly who I have been matched with. You are paired up with someone of about the same age, height, weight and ability.
“I’m not sure how I will feel actually trying to land a punch on someone who has become a good friend. But I guess they will be trying to land punches on me so I’ll have to just get on with it!
“I’ve enjoyed the training and I’m definitely fitter and have better stamina. My weight has stayed the same but I’m not exactly carrying any extra weight anyway.”
She added: “I’ve been getting my work colleagues involved and running a competition to decide on what music I should enter the ring to. We chose three songs, Can’t Touch This by MC Hammer, I’ve Got the Power by Snapp and Ant & Dec’s Let’s Get Ready to Rumble.
“It looks like my colleagues have chosen Can’t Touch This, that’s the one that’s ahead in the poll. Tickets are £20 each for the event and more than 10 of my work colleagues are coming along to support me.
“And I’m holding a bake sale in the next week to boost my fundraising so will be bringing lots of cupcakes, muffins and healthy quiches into work to sell.
“It’s going to be tough. It doesn’t sound much three two minute rounds but it’s enough. I just hope to land a good right hook and give cancer a bloody nose, that’s what I’m fighting for.”
Pendine Park director Gill Hughes wished Sian all the best for her boxing bout and for her fundraising efforts.
She said: “Sian must be a very brave lady; boxing is something that I’m not sure I could do. It never ceases to me how much money Pendine Park staff raise for various charities and good causes.
“Cancer Research UK is a wonderful and deserving charity and I’m sure Sian will exceed her fundraising target and it will also be a touching tribute to her cousin Craig”
For tickets to the event at Brymbo Enterprise Centre please visit www.ultratickets.co.uk/events/ultra-white-collar-boxing-wrexham-30-03-2019 and to visit Sian French’s Just Giving Page please visit www.justgiving.com/owner-email/pleasesponsor/Sian-French2