A New College Lanarkshire student is to return to the ring to raise money for suicide awareness charity Chris’s House.
Former world champion kickboxer Jordan McCafferty (18) from Motherwell will fight for the first time in three years at fundraising event, Knockout the Stigma.
The showcase is being organised by brothers Sam and Scott Allan, who manage the Rivals Gym in Wishaw.
Jordan was inspired to take part in the fundraiser on Saturday, September 8, after a close friend recently took his own life.
And he’s encouraging fellow students to get in his corner by attending fundraising events at the Motherwell, Coatbridge and Cumbernauld college campuses in the week leading up to his fight.
Jordan, who studies HND Computer Aided Draughting and Design at the Motherwell campus, said: “I’m doing this to raise awareness of mental health.
“You get people who think they can’t talk about things because there is a stigma but people need to realise that you can talk and that it’s all right to do so.”
Jordan followed his dad, Peter, into Tae Kwon Do training when he was just three years old.
He gained a clutch of Scottish, British and world champion titles in both kickboxing and Tae Kwon Do between 2011 and 2015 but was forced to stop due to ill-health.
The former Dalziel High pupil said: “I feel motivated to do it again and now I’m back enjoying it.
“Some people think of boxing as an angry sport but it relaxes you and chills you out – you forget about everything that’s going on in your life.
“I think it will be a bit emotional but once I’m in the ring I’ll be focused on one thing only.
“It’ll be tough but it’s for a good cause.”
New College Lanarkshire Students’ Association is hosting Jordan’s fundraising events at the Motherwell Campus on September 4, Coatbridge Campus on September 5 and Cumbernauld Campus on September 6.
The events will raise awareness of Chris’s House, which was founded by Wishaw mum Anne Rowan following the death of her son, Chris, in 2011.
She has established a 24-hour crisis centre and a growing network of volunteers to support anyone with suicidal thoughts and their friends and families.
Scott Allan said: “It’s a charity that’s close to home for us, partly because it’s just down the road but also because we’ve taken friends there for help.
“I don’t know if just talking made a difference but they are now in a much better place.
“Our Knockout the Stigma event has had great support already with more than 250 tickets sold; we’ve set a target of raising £5000.
“We hope to make it an annual event so that every year people know we’ll have a Chris’s House fundraiser.”
The event will feature a mix of boxing and kickboxing over 12 fights with Jordan lined up to go toe-to-toe with Ireland’s Marc Keane.
Sam Allan, who completed HND Coaching and Developing Sport at the college’s Broadwood Campus in 2014, said that boxing is a way to engage with others.
He said: “For me keeping active makes a difference. It’s the biggest anti-depressant you can have.
“It’s a form of community – some gyms can make you feel isolated or intimidated whereas in boxing you’re working as part of a team.
“We instil discipline and respect in our training and it’s a way to meet so many good people, many of whom will become friends for life.”
Cheree Fleming, president of New College Lanarkshire Students’ Association, said: “Over this coming year, we really want to focus on raising more awareness of mental health and encourage students to access the support services that are available.
“We think what Jordan is doing is absolutely amazing and we want to support him as much as possible.”
Anne Rowan of Chris’s House said: “It means so much to us to have the support of the college and its students, especially Jordan.
“It’s a positive step towards truly knocking out the stigma of mental illness.”
Knockout the Stigma will be held at Rivals Gym, 53-55 Roberts Street, Wishaw, on Saturday, September 8.
Tickets, priced£40 including a three-course meal, auction, raffle and after dinner speaker, are available on 07746 715904.
For more information visit www.facebook.com/rivals.gym.