Pat Benson PBBA
Pat Benson first came to Birmingham in 1960 where he joined Frank O’Sullivan at his gym in Ladywood. Pat then moved in '66 to the Forresters of Small Heath a, uniquely for the time, diverse and mixed heritage community boxing club. The Forresters consisted of Irish, Caribbean and English youngsters. Lou Yarwood lightweight represented England, Barney Burn represented Northern Ireland Middle weight. Further changes in 1967 saw the club moved to the Harp a dance in Mosely Street under Small Heath Golden Gloves. National Heavyweight title holder Bunny Johnson passing through this club at some point. From '80s - '90s Pat operated alongside John Kelly under Small Heath Boxing Club from Small Heath Leisure Centre moving in 1983 to Fazely Street. At Fazely Street Pat worked with the Ramsay Brothers, Rowan Williams, Matthew Macklin and Frankie Gavin.
After a fire in 2004 at Fazely Street and a swell of voluntary donations from the then committee, Pat took his club to a disused unit in Digbeth and began to build Pat Benson's Boxing Academy from the Ground up. In 2010 Pat Benson won the BBC West Midlands unsung hero awards in recognition of his efforts.
The club now operates as a multifaceted and dynamic development centre. It offers work skills and training opportunities, runs a mental health and wellbeing programme, teaches children’s fitness classes, provides mentoring schemes and persists in its mission and values project in wider community development. All the while operating as a top of the range training facility for casual and serious involvement with the sport of boxing.