Welsh boxing legend Joe Calzaghe has joined forces with his local paper to help them complete a long-running fundraising appeal.
The South Wales Argus, for which Joe has been a columnist for eight years, is striving to raise £1.5m to equip a treatment centre for disabled children in Newport.
It is hoped the centre will become a ‘one-stop-shop’ with everything from social services and education through to medical help and equipment.
Joe, world super middleweight and light heavyweight champion and current BBC Sports Personality of the Year, interrupted training only days before his farewell fight against Roy Jones Jr on Saturday to visit the Argus offices and the nearby children’s centre.
Argus editor Gerry Keighley told Calzaghe that the shell of the £9m treatment centre was now built thanks to public donations and a grant from the Welsh Assembly.
Joe has agreed to become patron of the ‘Sparkle Appeal’ to boost the Argus’ bid to raise the remaining cash.
He pledged during his visit to the Argus and a tour of the centre that after his final bout he would do all he could to help the paper raise the outstanding cash.
Gerry said: “Joe was amazed at the sheer size of the place. He was equally surprised when I told him that it had to cater for 1,200 disabled children.
“With his high profile as a great champion and super-fit sportsman he is the perfect patron to help us reach our fundraising target so that the centre can open by autumn of next year.”
Gerry also presented Joe with a one-off book created by Argus photographers with their own pictures marking his astonishing unbeaten career, plus a framed front page recording one of his victories (above).