Joe makes time for Sparkle

Joe Calzaghe with Brodie Hiscock (l) and James Allen

Joe Calzaghe with Brodie Hiscock (l) and James Allen

First published in Video by

ARGUS columnist Joe Calzaghe may be training hard twice a day ahead of his fight with Roy Jones Jnr, but Wales' greatest ever boxer still made time to check the progress of the Sparkle appeal.

Calzaghe was followed by a team of HBO cameramen as he toured the South Gwent Children's Centre. A £6 million care facility which will look after the needs of 1,200 disabled children in Newport, south Monmouthshire and Torfaen, once building work is complete.

The charity still requires another £1.25 million before the centre is ready to open. But bosses at Sparkle hope having world champion light heavyweight Calzaghe as the charity's patron will encourage more fundraisers to come on board.

"He's the platform we need," said fundraising manager Helen Lloyd.

Calzaghe may be putting in hours of running, bag work and sparring each day, but he gave his precious time to meet some of the children who will benefit when the centre finally opens, with healthcare officials aiming for next autumn.

James Allen, 16, and Brodie Hiscock, 11, were given the opportunity to meet their hero.

"Brodie was really excited and I was even more excited," said Brodie's father Colin.

After meeting the children, Joe and his girlfriend Jo-Emma Levin were given a tour of the children's centre.

Exterior work on the centre is now complete, but until the final funding is received the building's interior cannot be finished.

"I can't wait to come back here in 12 months and see the building when it's complete," Calzaghe said.

"I'm really happy to help with something like this."

He added: "If I can use my profile to help with a local charity then of course that's something I want to do."

Calzaghe said after hopefully beating former four-weight world champion Jones Jnr in New York on November 8, he was looking to spend more time with his charities.

His partner, Miss Levin said she was impressed with the centre: "I can't believe how big it is. The scenery is fantastic and there's some amazing views. We'll definitely come back when it's finished."

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