Leamington boxing coach Babs Kandola presented with national award by Duke of Edinburgh
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Babs, of Leamington Community Boxing, received the Spirit of Sport and Recreation Award for his services as a volunteer in front of an audience of 150 people at the Sport + Recreation Alliance’s 2023 Annual General Meeting at the Guildhall in London yesterday (Monday September 18).
Babs has been involved in volunteering for more than 35 years, and working in his community to ensure that young people have the opportunity to benefit from the power of sport and recreation.
He has been involved in countless programmes and initiatives and in the 1980s they set up the town’s first Asian football club, Khalsa under-9s, which now fields sides from the ages of nine to 16. Babs arranges an annual charity cricket match, which honours Conrad Lewis – one of their youth footballers who was sadly killed in Afghanistan in 2011 – to financially support returning soldiers.
Realising that his skill set could transcend different sports, in 2014 Babs secured his England Boxing coaching badges.
In 2019, he began the process of setting up Leamington Community Boxing and spent the summer refitting the new headquarters, with countless volunteer hours from the local community and tradespeople making the project possible.
On accepting the award, Babs said: “The backbone of this are the kids – they’re the ones that come through the door and do all the hard work.
"I get the nice bit, I get to stand here, but you know what they’re doing now? They’re cleaning the club and getting ready for tonight.
"The whole community is involved with our club.
“If you break down the word community, it’s a common unity.
"We should all stick together and look at all the good stuff that’s going on – that’s a great place to be.
“I really appreciate this, the whole club appreciates it.
"It means a lot, thank you.”
In 2019, Babs was nominated for the Unsung Hero Award for BBC Sports Personality of the Year.