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Wendy Austin's daughter Kerry to step into boxing ring for charity bout


Wendy Austin and daughter Kerry with her children Austin and Ellis

Wendy Austin and daughter Kerry with her children Austin and Ellis

Kerry at the gym with boxing coach Mark Ginley

Kerry at the gym with boxing coach Mark Ginley

Wendy Austin and daughter Kerry with her children Austin and Ellis

Not everyone would be prepared to take a punch in the face or - even worse - lose a few teeth for the greater good.

But luckily for one charity, fitness fanatic and Bodyfit Mums coach Kerry Kearney is in a league of her own when it comes to sporting challenges.

The 34-year-old daughter of former BBC broadcaster Wendy Austin has signed up for a white collar boxing event to raise money for Tahmi, a charity that works with sports clubs and groups to raise awareness of mental health and resilience.

Her mother even contacted Belfast boxer Paddy Barnes to ask him for some tips about finding the right shorts ahead of her forthcoming 'Fight Back for Mental Health' bout at Tribe gym in Belfast on April 4.

The Lisburn native, who shares a home with her construction expert husband Adrian and their two sons, Austin (5) and Ellis (3), said she is looking forward to the task in hand.

"It's for a really good cause," Kerry said.

"Gym owners Mark and Ray Ginley, ex-professional boxers turned coaches, organised a fundraiser last November to raise money for children's cancer and it went really well.

"This time they wanted to do something similar for mental health because of the two young boys who recently took their own lives in west Belfast, where they are from.

"Suicide is a huge societal issue and it's rife in their community, which explains why they've picked this particular charity."

Through her job at Bodyfit Mums, Kerry deals with many women who have pre- and post-natal depression, as well as mental health issues, which is why she has decided to get into the ring. "I have so many mummies on my programme who suffer from post-natal depression, or they're struggling with anxiety," she said.

"I try to help them see the benefits of exercise, both physically and mentally, and that's why I'm keen to raise awareness around this whole issue.

"So, if it means that I have to take a couple of punches in the face to raise money for mental health, then I'm game."

When Kerry told her family that she had signed up for the boxing event, along with men and women from all walks of life, she got a mixed reaction.

"There was general horror surrounding the whole idea, apart from my brother who was keen on it," she said.

"I said I wanted to wear personalised shorts and that's when mum offered to get in touch with Paddy Barnes to ask him where he gets his made.

"Paddy replied saying he hopes I'm prepared to take some punches on the nose and lose teeth during the fight... but mum said the only thing I appeared to be concerned about was wearing my own personalised shorts!"

Kerry added: "As long as the shorts have some gold fringing I'll be happy. If I'm going to get punched I might as well look good while it's happening."

Training starts in a fortnight and lasts six weeks so Kerry will have to slot it in around her full-time coaching schedule.

"It's a full five or six day programme the gym is offering to anyone who signs up for this," she said. "You don't have to be a member of Tribe gym to do it and they'll provide you with boxing training and all the gear that we'll need.

"I'll have to get up early and train at 6am, then go to work, come home and do my mummy duty and then train again at night."

Funds will be raised through ticket sales for the Fight Back for Mental Health event on April 4.

Kerry also said she hopes to be able to contribute to the total sum via sponsorship.

Last year Tribe raised £40,000 for local charities.

This year, the gym hopes to hit a £100,000 target.

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