Camilla’s praise for fierce young boxers as she tours gym
The Duchess of Cornwall joked she “wouldn’t want to get on the wrong side” of a group of boxing youngsters, branding them potential “world champions”.
Camilla met the primary school children as they showed off their fast-paced sparring moves at the Dwaynamics boxing gym in Brixton, south London.
She told them: “I think you all look very fierce, we’re definitely looking at the next world champions in this room.
“You’re going to get so big and strong, it’s just fantastic to see you all here.
“I think what you are doing is brilliant.”
Dwaynamics focuses on steering at-risk young people away from gang culture, knife crime and gun violence.
The duchess was greeted by chief executive Lorraine Jones, whose son Dwayne Simpson was stabbed to death at the age of 20 as he tried to save a friend’s life in Brixton.
Since his murder in 2014, pastor Ms Jones has channelled her loss into expanding the Dwaynamics boxing gym her son set up to help young men avoid violence.
She has encouraged larger numbers of children to attend free boxing classes twice a week, and expanded the programme to offer free education and life-skill support.
Nicknamed the “chief angel” of south London’s Angell Town estate, Ms Jones is called “mum” by her community.
She was awarded the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service in 2017 and met the duchess to collect a Women of the World award at an event at Clarence House in March 2019.
After watching a class demonstration, Camilla said to Ms Jones: “I think wherever your son is, he would be very proud of you.
“You can see the pleasure in their faces, each and every one of them are overjoyed to be here.
“That’s why projects like this are so important, they are the very heart of the community.
“I will always treasure the memory of coming here and meeting you all.”
Ms Jones said afterwards that she appreciated the support shown by Camilla.
“It’s important for the young people here to get the attention and be involved in such a special visit like this, everyone is delighted,” she said.
Head coach Richard Davis told the duchess how the club had grown from a single idea to helping 100 young people every week.
Camilla said: “It’s a brilliant way for them to get rid of all the energy and the anger and angst some young people feel today.”
Dressed in a black and green checked skirt and black jacket, both by Edina Ronay, and an off white silk shirt by Fiona Clare, Camilla struggled at times to adjust her peacock liberty face mask – also by Fiona Clare – as she made her way between the boxing gym and the neighbouring Ebony Horse Club.
The duchess admitted: “It’s so strange not being able to speak to people properly let alone shake their hand to say hello, but I suppose we are all doing it together.”
At the riding charity, Camilla met 17-year-old volunteer Claudia Buchanan and was introduced to some of the horses.
Heading out to the soggy paddock in the rain, Camilla remarked: “A little rain never hurt anybody and who could refuse these gorgeous horses.”
The inner city club, of which Camilla is president, is home to eight horses and provides riding and horse care opportunities for 140 young people each week.
It helped hundreds of children throughout the coronavirus pandemic with its breakfast clubs and after school clubs, and distributed essential provisions to 80 local children each week.