A FATHER who credits boxing with turning his life around has taken the first steps towards opening a community gym in Walcot.

Lucien Douglas had a troubled youth and went to jail for crimes of violence. But now he wants to use his experience to divert others from going down the same route.

And one of the first milestones in his rehabilitation will be a fundraising boxing show next month to seven local good causes.

He is so determined to reach his aim he is already taking meetings and canvassing support from organisations like the Police and Crime Commissioner and Swindon Crime Reduction Initiatives.

“I am the best person for this job,” he said. “I have come from a bad background and I have turned it around.

The 32-year-old, who has two young children, explained: “I was an idiot. I just didn’t care, I had no respect. But it wasn’t the real me. It was emotions that I didn’t know how to control.”

He said: “I know what it feels like to go to jail and I know what it feels like to have nothing. But also I know what it feels like to be proud.”

Lucien, who has been training at Scrappers, tried boxing as a child but only really got into it a year ago.

“I was on a tag because I was in trouble,” he said. A friend suggested a sparring session and although he didn’t enjoy it, he decided to stick with the sport.

“When I’m training I feel proud, because you feel like a man, you start acting like a man, you start being a man.”

He wants to work with children who spend a lot of their time on the street and are in danger of getting into trouble. He remembers there being more to do for young people when he was in his teens.

“SN3 had about four youth clubs in the area and they were always open at least four times a week,” he said.

“I have been planning this for ages. When I was a kid I wanted to be a PE teacher.”

But he feels running a community gym would enable him to help everyone, not just schoolchildren. He even has a plan to invite older people in for gentle training followed by a social session with tea and cake.

An event at Grange Leisure on January 27, featuring live music as well as fights between amateur white collar boxers from around the region, will raise money for Swindon Carers Centre, Scrapstore, Steps for Layla, Hop Skip and Jump, Swindon Mind, Brighter Futures and Cats Action Trust. Some sponsors have already come forward but Lucien is on the lookout for others.

Tickets go on sale on December 27 at £5, £10 and £15. Call 07544 921654.