Belfast Telegraph

Academy puts the boot in for a good cause

by Chris McCann

Charity day was a ‘chopping success’ at east Belfast’s Fighting Fit martial arts academy last weekend.

The charity event called ‘Fighting Fit’s Black Belt exravaganza’ was held to raise funds for Childsville Orhanage in the Phillipines.

Childsville was broken into and robbed early in December.

The extravaganza was a display of martial arts demonstrations, mixed martial arts and full kickboxing fights, and an awards ceremony.

Gary McKibben, Master of the gym, said: “We are a martial arts academy that centres on Black-belt leadership and life skills.

“With over 130 students it was a difficult task to coordinate the event and get everyone ready in such a short space of time for the event.”

Of the event he said: “The day kicked off with a display of skill from all the juniour grades, followed by awards. Then we were priviledged to see demonstrations of martial skill, breaking and weapons displays. I would like to thank all those involved in the demonstrations and the fighter who were there on the day.”

Master Gary McKibben said of the charity Childsville: “The orphanage is very family based.

“I know Leigh, the founder, and a few weeks ago he rang me and told me the orphanage had been broken into and robbed.

“At the moment they have around 17 children, and Leigh having been an orphan himself has made it his job to help these children,” he added.

Leigh Childs, founder of Childsville, who was an orphan himself said: “Most of the children we help are from broken families, parents that have died or been killed, or families that literately can't afford to feed them.

“It is so great that people like Gary McKibben and his Martial Arts students put themselves out and raise money for us. It really shows what big hearts they have.

“The money they have raised goes such a long way for us over here and it really will make a big different for the children of Childsville this Christmas.”

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