Policewoman and female firefighter to clash in bout with a difference

Steff O'Hanlon and Pc Becky Lidster get ready. Picture: Ian Georgeson
Steff O'Hanlon and Pc Becky Lidster get ready. Picture: Ian Georgeson
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AS A frontline police officer who regularly patrols the Capital’s mean streets on a Saturday night she will be no stranger to fighting.

But tonight Pc Becky Lidster will be getting involved in what is expected to be a tasty tussle for all the right reasons.

The 27-year-old former personal trainer will be entering the ring as part of a sell-out event which will see pumped-up pugilists from Lothian and Borders Police take on their colleagues from Lothian and Borders Fire and Rescue Service.

Nine fights will be staged between teams from the two services at the Corn Exchange, watched by a cheering crowd of their colleagues.

However, rather than settling the age-old question of which service is the toughest, this match-up is aimed at raising thousands of pounds for charity.

The fighters will be watched by guest of honour, former world lightweight champion and Edinburgh resident Ken Buchanan.

And Becky’s all-female dust-up against an opponent representing the fire service will be among the highlights, as even though it’s only her second bout, this is a grudge match.

Police team captain Detective Sergeant Mike Leask, pictured below, said: “We put out an invitation for female fighters and Becky was by far the best – she was just a natural, and because she used to be a personal trainer her fitness levels were superb.

“She has fought the woman from the fire service before – in her only other bout! That was a great match-up, though, and it ended in a draw so this should be a really interesting fight.”

The event follows The Battle of the Badges, a boxing fundraiser held at the same venue in April which saw officers from Lothian and Borders Police take on their transatlantic counterparts from the New York Police Department.

That series of bouts – which ended in a narrow win for the home side – raised £5000 for the charity Caudwell Children, which provides support for disabled youngsters, and organisers hope the emergency services grudge match will prove just as lucrative.

“The event with the NYPD was extremely successful and we were looking for something else to do for Caudwell Children,” said DS Leask. “We heard that Staffordshire Police took on their fire service for a fundraiser and thought it would be great to do the same in Lothian and Borders.

“We contacted the fire service and they were willing to raise a team. We had our own appeal for officers to take part and had a huge response with 35 applicants. We whittled that down to 18 then had a box-off to get down to nine, with people selected on ability, fitness, and experience.”

DS Leask, who works with the Amethyst team which investigates sexual crimes, is also the national coach of Scotland’s tae-kwon do team.

The 38-year-old has been putting his team through its paces, including Pc Lidster, and Detective Constable Steve Livingstone who boxes in the super-heavyweight division.

DC Livingstone, 41, stands 6ft 6in tall and fought twice former world champion Tim Witherspoon at the Battle of the Badges event.

DS Leask added: “Safety is the most important thing and we’ll be boxing with 16 ounce gloves, the biggest that are used, and everyone will wear headguards and undergo medical exams.

“All of the boxers have been carefully matched on weight and ability so we are expecting close contests.

“We’re very confident as we have a good team. They’ve been training hard and becoming real athletes.

“Because it’s police versus fire service we’re expecting some rivalry. Both teams want to win. But with the single police and fire service coming in, this is a good chance for us to get together.

“I could see this becoming an annual event, only next time it could be boxers chosen from across Scotland.”

The police team includes detectives, patrol officers and members of the firearms unit, with ages ranging from their 20s to 40s.

Sanctioned by the European Boxing Federation, the contests will be decided in three two-minute rounds, with a trophy going to the winners.

The police team are also looking forward to competing against a line-up from Staffordshire Police in April when they travel down south for another fundraiser dubbed the Battle of Britain.

Trudi Beswick, chief executive of Caudwell Children, said: “We wish all the boxers competing this weekend the best of luck and thank everyone for their continued support.”

To donate to Cadwell Children visit www.caudwellchildren.com