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Fighting fit - how veteran pig industry campaigner is using boxing to help cope with Parkinson's

27th Jul 2022 / By Alistair Driver

Six years ago, Richard Longthorp, one of pig farming's most familiar and formidable characters, was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease. 

Longthorp boxing Yorkshire postTrue to form, the former NPA chair who is still actively involved in pig industry campaigning from the family farm in East Yorkshire, is not taking it lying, and is actively fighting back. 

Richard's for pig farming has always been matched by his passion for sport - he played in the Selby front until he was nearly 50 - and he is now using boxing to help him cope with the condition. 

During the recent formation of a new boxing club at Goole, Richard said he found that boxing could also be beneficial to his condition and hopefully to others.

“I’d been having discussions about the new Goole Boxing Club with Mike Bromby, the head coach at St Paul’s who is also on the Goole management committee, and I’d also explained about some research I’d done. In America it had been found there were benefits to be gained from boxing for those who suffer from Parkinson’s," he told the Yorkshire post. 

“Mike and his team are always keen to expand their work with people who have mental or physical health problems and asked if I would like a training session and, even though I’m pushing 70 and hadn’t boxed at all before, I said yes immediately and a week later I was strapping up in the ring at St Paul’s and have been going ever since."

"One of the things with Parkinson’s is the brain tells the body to do something and that part of the body may often just point blank refuse, but if you can set up a series of triggers this can help. In my case it was Mike shouting a series of numbers and every time he shouted ‘two’ I made a right hand jab. After a certain while it seems to get the body going so that you can actually do it for yourself. It’s something to do with neural pathways."

He told the interviewer he'd love to get in the ring with somebody of similar condition, although he would need a licence to box from the British Board of Control.

“More importantly I would love this kind of coaching for anyone with some form of disability to be more widely known to others who have Parkinson’s or whatever they suffer from and to get the work of Goole Boxing Club better known," he said. 

You can read the full article HERE (although you might to register).

  • Picture: Yorkshire Post