A FATHER of two who was battling with severe depression turned his life around by taking part in a charity boxing match to raise money for cancer sufferers.

Ian Rimmington, 32, decided to step into the ring after his mental health issues became so bad he contemplated taking his own life.

He found that training for the event gave him a new purpose in life, he managed to lose a stone in weight and is even now building his own boxing gym in his shed.

Participants in Ultra White Collar Boxing events are given the opportunity to take part in eight weeks of free professional training before a showcase event in front of hundreds of spectators.

So far, the events have raised a staggering £20m for Cancer Research UK.

Those taking part are asked to sell tickets for the show and raise at least £50 for Cancer Research UK.

Minibus driver Ian said: “I haven’t really been happy for ages and I hadn’t really been doing anything to make myself feel better.

“I went to work and I came back and I went to bed. I just didn’t want to see anyone.

“I started thinking about not being here anymore. I didn’t want to be alive any longer. I was only ever happy when I was asleep.”

One night he confided to his wife, Mel, 25, just how badly he was struggling.

Mr Rimmington, from Wilford Road, Athersley North, said: “My wife told me to go to the doctors in the end. We were out driving and I told her what I wanted to do. I told her ‘I am ready to go’. She was scared and she made me go to the doctors.

“The doctors told me I was suffering from anxiety and depression. I went to talk to someone but that actually made me feel a lot worse.”

One of his friends had done an Ultra event before and after seeing photos of the fight, he decided he would give it a go too.

He decided that stepping into the ring would give him something to focus on as well as more energy for the time he spent with his children - son Alfie, five, and 12-year-old daughter Deni.

Ian said: “When I told people I was doing the fight a few people laughed and my dad, Ian, didn’t want me to do it.

“My daughter didn’t want me to do it either. She didn’t want me to get hurt, but then she came to one of my training sessions and warmed to the idea.”

He trained at the Combat Academy, Wombwell, and began to lose weight almost immediately.

He continued: “Before I started training I weighed over 18 stone and I lost a whole stone by the time of the fight.

“Even though I’ve been going to the gym on and off for years I have never been able to shift the weight.

“Once I started the Ultra training my clothes started to hang off me and I was in a better mood and I was excited about things again.”

He took part on his first event at the Metrodome and although he didn’t win his bout, the experience invigorated him so much he has already decided to do another.

“I’ve also emptied my shed out and created my own little getaway gym at home.

“I’m getting a speed bag and some other equipment put up so I can keep training whenever I want.”

n The next Ultra White Collar Boxing event Ian has signed up for is on March 28 and training starts on February See ultrawhitecollarboxing.co.uk/locations/barnsley/ for details.