A north-east boxing champion has lodged £10 million plans to turn a disused school into a health and fitness village.
“Aberdeen Assassin” Lee McAllister has submitted an application to Aberdeen City Council to create the sports centre, which would be tailored to vulnerable people.
The facility, proposed for the former Cordyce School, is poised to work with children and adults with disabilities, recovering cancer patients, people with mental health issues, recovering drug and alcohol addicts and the homeless.
Proposals include a running track, football pitch, multi-purpose gym and a swimming pool, as well as a refurbishment of the existing dorm building on site.
The boxing champion, who confirmed he has approached the council to buy the former school in Dyce, hopes to hear of the authority’s decision on his 47-page business plan next month.
Lee said: “We need backing from the council. The public are behind us, they are really interested in seeing this proposal being put into place.
“I’ve had local charities and businesses getting in touch to offer their support, and health professionals because there’s only so much they can do to help people.
“I’ve got the support of MSPs and former councillors like Len Ironside, along with sportsmen and women.
“We all need to work together to get people out of the house socialising and educating people on how to keep fit.”
Though Lee has had some investment, he hopes to build on that amount by fundraising, adding “every penny counts”.
The Bridge of Don resident reflected on his own past in his hopes that he can help future generations with his plans.
The 35-year-old said: “I’ve had an up and down life – I’ve lost families and friends.
“I’ve had depression and a difficult childhood myself.
“This centre would be accessible whatever your background, you don’t need to come from a rich family.
“I would rather kids got involved in health and fitness rather than go down the route of drink and drugs.
“If I save five kids from that, it would be worth it. On the other side, we can help people in recovery from cancer, strokes and heart conditions.
“Getting plans approved would mean everything to me, but it’s more about what it means for the thousands of people that would benefit from it.
“It is a massive project and a massive ask but we are asking people to get behind this and fundraising will be a high priority for us.”
This year, Lee gained the backing of the family of Jordan Jones.
Jordan was assaulted in his sleep and left with brain damage in May 2016 and is now being cared for at a specialist unit in Glasgow.
Caroline Munro, Jordan’s aunt, hit out at the lack of help services available in Aberdeen, and called Lee’s plan “a breath of fresh air”.