Boxing coach Neil Parsons named BBC South West Unsung Hero

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Exmouth boxing coach Neil Parsons is named the BBC South West Unsung Sporting Hero for 2012.

Neil Parsons has won the BBC Unsung Hero Award for the South West for his work with the Lympstone Boxing Club.

Neil founded the club in 1968 and he has helped over 2,000 youngsters in his 44 years as a volunteer.

The club currently has 50 members and seven coaches and Neil said boxing was in his blood.

"Without these young lads, without the trainers it wouldn't happen, I'm just a small cog in the wheel," he told BBC South West Sport.

The club has been part of his life since he was 25 and his links with the police and fire service have also been instrumental in diverting young people away from anti-social behaviour and crime in the Exmouth area.

At present the gym cannot cope with the demand, so Neil has secured £66,000 of funding to increase its capacity.

Julian Wills from the Olympic legacy charity 'Sported' said: "In terms of what the award is about, it's about someone from a community that has actually changed people's lives for the better.

"He's done this for nearly half a century, he's not wanting to be praised, he does it because he loves his community and the young people he works with."

One club's coaches is Matt Mason, who began boxing there at the age of 12 and went on to win gold in the World Firefighter Games.

He added: "The time and effort he (Neil) puts into the club and the amount of lives that he's touched with training with the kids is unbelievable."