When it comes to helping the poor in Blackpool, former world heavyweight champion Evander Holyfield pulls no punches.
The American former boxer turned up to deliver a van full of food to Helping Hand, a charity which aims to tackle homelessness and poverty in the resort, yesterday morning.
His visit to the charity’s base, on Ripon Road, off Palatine Road, was part of a 31-day tour of the UK and Spain organised by Blackpool-based promoter EBF Boxing.
Evander, who famously had part of his right ear bitten off during a bout against Mike Tyson, told The Gazette: “It’s a great thing as it’s always a pleasure to be able to give back. I was the youngest of nine in my family and without other people helping us I wouldn’t have made it into the person who I am.”
His trip was organised in conjunction with Global Village Champions Foundation (GVCF), a non-profit organisation which donated the food to Helping Hand as part of its work to tackle hunger across the world.
GVCF founder Yank Berry, who was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize both last year and this year, was also on hand to deliver goods including bread, pasta, and a tinned foods to the centre.
The organisation was co-founded by Mr Barry and boxer Muhammad Ali, with funding from celebrities such as Celine Dion and Michael Jordan.
Mr Barry said: “Blackpool is a great place. Obviously the economy’s hurting, but it’s that way everywhere.”
Helping Hand provides food, drinks and clothing to the homeless and needy in Blackpool.
Its project co-ordinator Charles Smith said: “It was overwhelming that they should think of us. It’s a worldwide thing they do and to include small local charities like us is great.”
“He’s a very approachable person.”