A FORMER Andover boxer – who ranked at number four in Great Britain – has been made an MBE.

Quinton Shillingford, who now lives in Southsea, near Portsmouth, was honoured for his work with young people as a boxing coach.

The former Cricklade College student, who lived in Andover before he joined the Navy at 18, said: “It’s a massive honour, I couldn’t believe it and I still can’t.

“You put so many voluntary hours in but as you are passionate about the sport you don’t see it. But when something like this happens you suddenly realise that people appreciate what you do.”

At the age of ten Quinton joined Andover Boxing Club, and a year later he stepped into the ring for his first amateur bout, with the youngster going on to win his next I2 fights in a row.

Quinton went on to win two NABC titles and reached the finals of the Schoolboy Championships. It was then that Navy boxing coach WOPT Micky Shone spotted him.

He invited him to train with the Navy squad in a bid to build up his already successful Navy Boxing Team.

Quinton joined the Navy in September 1985 and at 18 became the Navy Boxing Champion after knocking out Scottish international Dave Robb in the second round. He was Navy champion for five years.

The 46-year-old, who now coaches boxing, said: “Boxing really has changed my life.

“I was a typical lad on quite a tough estate but I was kept out of trouble by going to the boxing gym every night and by the time I was 13 I was a national champion.”

And Quinton’s three children – 11-year-old Jazmin, who goes to Baulksbury School, in Andover, Jessica, aged seven, and three-yearold Elijah – all follow in their dad’s footsteps and are learning to box.

He added: “I would like to thank Mr Billy Pike for being my boxing coach, my role model and my father figure when I was growing up.

“He taught me to have courage, higher self esteem and believe in myself.”

Quinton’s father – known as ‘RAC’ Shillingford – was also made an MBE. His award was for services to the community as High Commissioner to Dominica in 1977.