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Martial arts man fighting for peace
Tuesday, 28 June 2011
By Lindsay Burns
A GYM owner and martial artist who used his time in the limelight to call for peace in South London has helped dozens of young people stay on the right path.
When Jamaine Facey was interviewed before a fight broadcast live on Sky Sports in 2009 he took the opportunity to try to make a difference.
The 34-year-old, from West Norwood, who has lost friends to violent crime, used his airtime to highlight problems with youth violence in South London and urged people to help out.
He said: “I always think so many sports people in the public eye should speak up more, because they can really make a difference.
“So the interviewer asked me what I thought about my opponent and I just started saying, ‘Hands up, guns down’. “‘Hands up’ means, to me, put your hands up and do something good with your life.
“It could be singing or art, not just fighting.
“People should put their weapons down and protect their lives and the lives of others – by doing what they can to help others.”
Jamaine co-owns Bandogs gym in London Bridge, where he runs mixed martial arts classes.
He set up free weekly classes for young people, which he funded.
He also recently donated £10,000 from a fight night to help fund an operation to help disabled four-year-old Joe Elliot walk.
Jamaine, who has an 11-year-old son, has been nominated for an Our Heroes award as part of this paper’s campaign to recognise the achievements of South Londoners.
Jamaine, who is a manager at Fusion Leisure Centre in Peckham, said the free classes held once or twice a week have been a massive success.
He said: “We started bringing the kids in off the streets, identifying the ones who are likely to go the wrong way.
“It’s not just about young people. We even got adults – big grown men who are getting into trouble.
“But there are so many good role models at the gym.
“We’ve got teachers, plumbers, firefighters, students, actors.
“So if we’ve got kids in who are not working, someone will be able to help them get into work, or give them advice.”
Jamaine’s “Hands up, guns down” message has grown into a campaign offering support and mentoring to young people.
Jamaine said his next goal was to find the cash needed to expand the campaign.
Copyright Tindle Newspapers Ltd Thursday, 20 June 2013
Other Our Heroes Awards 2011:
Sir Ray Tindle
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