Gillham making great strides after rapid leg break recovery
By rights, Harvey Gillham should only now be contemplating a return to competitive boxing.
In May 2017, the 13-year-old suffered a horrific break of both his tibia and fibula following a scooter accident.
Surgery was the only option, during which a pin was inserted to stabilise the growth pace in his leg.
The operation was a success, but the doctor’s prognosis was at least a 12-month period of rehabilitation.
However, such are the Soham Village College pupil’s powers of recovery — not to mention his levels of determination — that in recent months he has had one skills contest and three competitive fights, winning all of them.
Those outings have been as a member of the New Astley Boxing Club, whose head coach Mark O’Reilly had Gillham working on the pads — while sitting down — just a matter of weeks after he had gone under the knife.
Mum Lydia Gillham said: “Harvey has defied everything the medical people told us. The fact he was walking so quickly was amazing, let alone boxing.
“We did not expect him to be anywhere near ready by this stage. It was going to be at least a year, that was the plan.
“But he lives and breathes boxing and would love to do it as a professional.
“We cannot thank the boxing club enough for what they have done for Harvey.
“Mark is the nicest guy. He is caring and has really taken Harvey under his wing and looked after him.
“To see him working with Harvey on the pads — just to keep his head straight — was amazing.”
As far as O’Reilly is concerned, he wishes every fighter in his gym was as tenacious and dogged as Isleham-based Gillham.
So impressed has the coach been with the youngster that he plans to enter him into the Schoolboy Championships at the end of month.
“He had a horrendous injury and I was not sure if he would box again,” said O’Reilly.
“But to have that drive and determination as a 13-year-old is amazing — I would love to have a gym full of fighters with that attitude.
“He is mentally very strong, there is no quitting with him.
“He is by no means the finished article, but he has talent and crucially he wants to learn and wants to please you.
“With those qualities, you can go far. Harvey was born to fight.”