The late Dom Mitchell from Newcastle has received a lasting tribute with many people supporting an appeal for his beloved boxing club in the seaside town.
Donations from a fundraiser set up in memory of one of “Newcastle’s friendliest fellas” will ensure a boxing club on the verge of collapse can benefit many in the local community and be a lasting legacy to a man who was a best friend to so many writes Laura Barr.
The fundraiser set up in memory of Dominic Mitchell, known to his family and friends as ‘Dom’ quickly exceeded its initial target within an hour after it was set up.
All the money raised will go directly to Bryansford Amateur Boxing Club, a club very close to his wife Kate’s heart.
The figure now stands at an incredible £7,179 on the gofundme site, serving as a true testament to Dom’s character and how revered and respected he was in the local community and further afield.
The entire town of Newcastle was devastated to learn of his passing on 31 January and the messages left on the gofundme page echo the many sentiments felt from those who were lucky enough to call him their family or friend.
The 36-year-old married father-of-three had recently had a hip operation and had spoken to one of his best friends Leigh Ferris about how he couldn’t wait for the boxing club to re-open and to get involved with it.
Leigh, who is Secretary of the boxing club, said he felt very overwhelmed by the support shown to Dom and to the club through the fundraiser.
He explained that the idea for the fundraiser had initially been set up to support Dom’s young family, but his wife Kate felt that the money would be better placed with the club to become a real legacy to her husband.
Speaking on behalf of the club committee, Leigh said: “We have been completely blown away by the level of support this fundraiser has received.
“Of course, it is still a very difficult time for everyone, but a lot of learning has already come about through something so tragic.
“A lot of the lads within our friendship group have reconnected after maybe not speaking to each other for a long time and we are all just trying to help each through this together.
“His final journey through Newcastle on the day of his funeral was a really comforting experience I think for everyone.
“We left his house in Tullybrannigan and were met with people lining the streets and footpaths right the way along to the Dundrum Road.
“It’s just a pity that Dom isn’t here today to see just what he meant to all of these people” Leigh added.
“Dom was always the guy who tried to make people laugh and smile, he was a very personable person, and I don’t think he really had any idea of how much he meant to people which was very evident on the day of his funeral.”
Leigh who was best man at Dom and Kate’s wedding said that Kate was the first ever member of Bryansford Amateur Boxing Club and Dom was such a great advocate of the club too.
“There is a real lasting legacy now here for Dom within our club” he went on to say.
“This money will be a life-line to us and actually means the difference between us closing and staying open.
The club had recently moved to new premises on the Dundrum Road after sharing a space at the back of Bryansford Hall.
“We got the new premises on the Dundrum Road and no sooner had we moved in than we forced to close due to the first lockdown.
“Then when the lockdown relaxed initially at the start of the summer, contact sport was the last tier to be allowed to operate so we were only able to invite 20 members back because we had to work in pods.
“It has been an absolute disaster for everyone.
“We have young children who were going up through the levels from novice to intermediate and they’ve been without the sport now for a whole year.”
Leigh explained that any saved funds were used to help set up the new premises as a lot of work needed completed to have the space up to standard for boxing to take place.
Funding was also received from the Covid Impact grant which has covered rent and rates bills up to now.
“The local community have always helped us with fundraising, and we are forever grateful to them.
“Through Dom’s fundraiser we will be able to continue the great work the club provides on a physical and mental level for the local community.”
Leigh hopes the funds will be used to buy more equipment and create a club where everyone from the community can feel they can participate.
“We have conditioning equipment and weights that we would like to see going in and our intention is to open a new age group for children from the ages of around four to seven.
“We are also wanting to link in with charitable organisations such as Sure Start to give parents the chance to come along while their babies or toddlers are taking part in activities with the charity.
“We have three rooms in the club so that’s definitely very promising.
“We are also hoping to host a memorial night for Dom too, a competition in his memory and we are hoping that this can become an annual event.”
Leigh added that the club has 20 members at present as that is the maximum number allowed with the current restrictions but there is a waiting list of about 50 to 60 people, young and old waiting to become members.
Speaking about Dom, Leigh said: “He was my life-long friend and my best friend.
“Another friend of ours had wrote as part of his remembrance that the measure of a man is determined by how many people called him their best friend, and Dom had a lot of best friends.
“Although I was best man at his wedding, there were easily five or six guys sitting there who could have easily fulfilled that role.
“When you formed a friendship with him, it was always a very close one and he was a very genuine person.
“Dom loved seeing his family and friends and all the people in his life doing well, he got great satisfaction out of that.
“He was such a positive person with a smile that just lit up any room and I know he would be really pleased to see the positive steps we are taking now, going forward from the fundraiser.
“On behalf of the club, I would just like to thank every person who made a donation and for the very kind words and memories that have been left on the page.
“I know they have been a real comfort to his family and to all of his friends.”
If anyone would like to make a donation to Bryansford Amateur Boxing Club, they can click on the following link which will redirect them to the gofundme site:
Like the Bryansford Amatuer Boxing Club Facebook page at: