AS a councillor with 10 years’ experience, Dale Heenan is used to the rough and tumble of the political arena.

However, the Covingham and Dorcan representative will be taking on a fight of a different kind in May when he steps into the boxing ring to raise money for charity.

The political heavyweight, responsible for transport, has signed up to take part in a white-collar boxing match as part of the ZerotoHero challenge and will be raising money for Swindon Guide Dogs and Technology for the Disabled.

Although Dale has taken part in some runs in the past, the 35-year-old has never set foot inside a ring.

However, he has enlisted the help of a local sporting hero to show him the ropes.

Dale said: “I turned 35 in January and really feel that I want, and need, to do something for me, something different, fun, interesting and if it challenged any assumptions people might have about me all the better.

“I have no previous boxing experience or anything like it, so I’ve been trying to get in some early training and learn the basics. I want to win, but if I don’t take this seriously then I know I will get battered.

“On hearing I had signed up for the Zero2Hero boxing challenge, a friend put me in touch with top local boxer and former Commonwealth Games gold medalist Jamie Cox.

“Jamie agreed to give me extra one-to-one lessons to help my technique and fitness at his gym, the Arena at Crowood House on Gipsy Lane.

“He has been a great trainer, and I have a new-found respect for boxers as athletes because it’s hard work, but a lot of fun.”

Dale has set himself a target of £1,000 – £100 for every year he has been a councillor. Due to the nature of white-collar boxing, he does not yet know who his opponent will be on May 9, at the Oasis Leisure Centre.

As well as raising money, Dale is also using the event to help improve his fitness levels.

He said: “Between my job, and being a councillor, going to the gym hasn’t been a priority recently.

“In the past, I’ve run half marathons and participated in a lot of distance swimming to raise money for charity such as the 1.5-mile Bournemouth Pier to Boscombe Pier swim for the British Heart Foundation.

“But promotions at work and to the Cabinet three years ago has meant any kind of sport has gone out of the window.”

Anyone who wants to donate can do so by visiting Heenan.