THE FOUNDER of a popular Derbyshire boxing scheme which aims to keep young people out of trouble has been awarded the MBE.
Detective Inspector Steve Osbaldeston founded Ozbox in 2004 with the free boxing project now having more than over 200 volunteer off-duty police officers who help train an average of 3,000 youngsters in the county every week.
Steve, 56, said: “I was told five weeks ago, but you’re sworn to secrecy. The hardest part was keeping it a secret, but my family are over the moon and obviously I’m delighted.
“We’ve had a lot of success stories – it is working. We have kids who looked like they were heading for a life of crime and now they’re in Afghanistan and Iraq. One lad has just joined the Grenadier Guards and another is a physical training instructor in the Marines.”
Honoured for his police work, Steve has also been involved in a number of high profile police enquiries.
Complaints about anti-social behaviour fell off sharply in Ripley in the first six months of the Oxford Street Ozbox club opening. Now the Ripley team is looking for new sponsors and larger premises.
Steve now lives in Oakerthorpe but was brought up in Alfreton and credits a local gym with the inspiration for Ozbox.
He said: “Richard Penarski is probably one of the best trainers in the country. He has steered a lot people away from crime and he kept us out of trouble when we were children.”
Steve joined the police in 1985 and has been a detective for 19 years. He is married to Joanne, a police officer based in Ilkeston and they have three children, Jade, Ben and Fern, also a police officer.
Ozbox has six mobile gyms and has helped set up six permanent gyms.