Not many girls put on the boxing gloves as part of their 11th birthday celebrations!
But Hailie Fenech was game to learn new skills and pulled no punches as she squared up to health development worker Lee Barrett.
However, no one was hurt as it was all part of an initiative run for youngsters in Clacton to give them the chance to learn basic boxing techniques – with no physical contact allowed.
The scheme was put together by Tendring Community Builder Diane Boyd and Phil Clark, Chairman of the Great Estate of Bockings Elm Residents’ Association, in partnership with activetendring and Inclusion Ventures.
It is running every Wednesday in August from 2pm to 3pm at Legerton Drive Playing Fields for boys and girls aged from 11 up to 18, free of charge.
Mr Barrett, who takes the structured sessions, said they are chance to improve fitness and enhance confidence while picking up a few basic skills and techniques.
“They are not permitted to fight each other and the only punch they throw is at the boxing pads,” he said.
Parents have welcomed the initiative – and asked if something similar can be put on for under 11s.
Lynda McWilliams, Tendring District Council’s Cabinet Member for Wellbeing and Partnerships, said the sessions had been well received.
“The youngsters seem to be enjoying themselves and they do a warm-up and skipping which all helps to improve their fitness – as well as learning new disciplines,” she said.
And Hailie’s verdict: “It was great fun!”