World boxing champion Josh Warrington joined his trainer-father Sean O’Hagan and Leeds Rhinos player Jack Walker to hand out certificates at the Forward Leeds Recovery Graduation.
The event saw 50 people celebrate their achievement in going through drug or alcohol treatment with the Forward Leeds service and sustaining their recovery.
Josh Warrington, who won the IBF World Featherweight title last year, said: “The people I’ve met tonight are champion fighters themselves. It’s truly inspirational to meet so many people who have picked themselves up and fought so hard and shown so much courage in their lives. Tonight is great for Leeds too. It’s real proof for people out there in the city that recovery from alcohol and drugs is possible. It’s a privilege to be here.”
The event took place at the John Charles Centre for Sport in Middleton, Leeds.
Anna Headley, executive director for Humankind, the lead partner in Forward Leeds, said: ”We’re very grateful to Josh, Sean and Jack for sharing in our celebration. I know their presence and time with us means so much to everyone here.”
Jo Byrden, manager of the 5 WAYS recovery centre, off Burley Road, where many graduates receive further support, added: “It was wonderful to see so many familiar faces gathered together in one place and quite rightly celebrating with one another and recognising the hard work they have made in their journey to recovery. For so many of them, it’s not just about an end to substance misuse but about building a better life for themselves and moving forward.”