Lowestoft firefighter bids to conquer the world in international competition
- Credit: Cole Risby/Eddison Content
A Lowestoft firefighter with "unfinished business" in the ring is set to represent Great Britain at an international competition.
Declan McAvoy joined Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service four years ago and the Lowestoft South-based hero will jet off to Portugal this week for the World Firefighter Games.
The "Olympics for the fire service" sees lifesavers from across the globe compete in more than 40 sports, with this year's event taking place in Lisbon from Friday, April 30.
For Mr McAvoy, the games offer the chance to return to the boxing ring after ending his promising career to pursue his football dream.
He said: "There's about 5-7,000 competitors taking part, all involved in the fire service, including our volunteers.
"It's like the Olympics, but for the fire service.
"I feel like I've got unfinished business in the ring.
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"I used to be quite a good amateur boxer and was quite successful growing up in Scotland, but I gave it up too early when I was 16 and signed a contract to chase my football dream.
"All through my life, even when I was playing football, I was hitting a punch bag whenever I could."
The son of Frankie McAvoy, former Norwich City assistant manager during Alex Neil's time at the club, the firefighter settled in East Anglia after visiting his father, embarking on a career with local teams.
He said: "I played mainly in Scotland, but also in Malta and Portugal, before I came to visit my dad when he was Alex Neil's assistant at Norwich City.
"East Anglia has that thing that traps you like quicksand and I found myself staying and now I'm raising my family here.
"I signed for Great Yarmouth Town and played local football at a few clubs around here.
"I've got a little boy now, and that's why I joined the fire service and stopped chasing the dream and the next contract.
"There's always someone younger and fresher and it gets harder and harder.
"I'm 30 and I decided now was the time to get back into the ring, and there isn't a better way to do it than to combine it with my job.
"I've been fortunate enough to have a lot of local sponsors who have really helped with my training and costs of getting to Portugal."