Leeds United legend Jermaine Beckford joins boxing champion Maxi Hughes in celebrating graduates of the Leeds Forward Leeds drug and alcohol service

Leeds United legend Jermaine Beckford alongside world boxing champion Maxi Hughes, have joined almost 100 people in celebrating their drug and alcohol recovery journeys.

Tuesday, 28th September 2021, 4:45 pm

The local sporting superstars, who were joined by Hughes' trainer Sean O'Hagan, handed out certificates at the Forward Leeds Recovery Graduation last Thursday, as they looked to celebrate the achievements of people going through the Forward Leeds drug and alcohol service.

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Speaking at the event Maxi Hughes, who was recently crowned the IBO lightweight boxing champion of the world, commented: “The people here tonight are champions and what they been through has been a fight for them. It’s inspirational to meet so many people who have been brave enough to confront their issues and battled to overcome them and rebuild their lives.”

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Photographed left to right - Maxi Hughes, Anna Headley, Jermaine Beckford and Sean O'Hagan as they attend the Forward Leeds Recovery Graduation

As well as picking up their certificates and having the chance to meet local celebrities, graduating attendees were also treated to a performance by cabaret performer Pure Paloma and a talk from Forward Leeds Clinical Director, Dr Joe Tay.

Anna Headley, Executive Director for Humankind, the lead partner in Forward Leeds, said: “We’re very grateful to Maxi, Sean and Jermaine for coming along tonight and being such an enthusiastic part of the evening. The fact they have given their time up to be here and spend time with us means so much to everyone who attends, especially our graduates.”

Meanwhile Carla Carr, a Building Recovery in Communities worker from the 5 WAYS recovery centre where many graduates continue to receive treatment and support stated: “It was great to see so many of the people we have seen come through 5 WAYS gathered together at the same time, celebrating with each other what they’ve achieved. It’s great to take an evening out like this to recognise the hard work and struggles they have gone through.”

She added: “For so many of them, it’s not just about an end to substance misuse but about building a better quality of life for themselves and moving forward. That’s what they are really celebrating.”

The event was held in the Norman Hunter Suite at Elland Road on September 23.

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