Queen’s Birthday Honours: Reward for Fareham boxing coach

Nigel Rigden

Southsea’s Canoe Lake Leisure Tennis Pavilion shortlisted for an award

Have your say

UNSTINTING dedication to boxing has earned 91-year-old Jack Bishop an honour from the Queen.

Mr Bishop, from Fareham, was recognised on the Queen’s birthday honours list with a British Empire Medal for his role as boxing coach and promoter in Portsmouth and Southampton.

Jack Bishop

Jack Bishop

The boxing trainer has given his life to his sport, which has even earned him the nickname Mr Boxing.

Mr Bishop spoke of the proud moment the notification dropped through his letterbox.

‘I thought it was a hoax at first,’ he said.

‘I had to look at it four times. I had to sit down, have a cup of tea and then go back to it. I still couldn’t believe it.

‘There is a special stamp for royal delivery, so I eventually realised it’s real.

‘I wish my mum was still alive to see it. She’d be about 150 by now! It’s a very proud moment.’

His unstinting dedication to the sport earned him the honour.

Mr Bishop has been involved with the sport for more than 80 years and has worked tirelessly to promote local fighters.

He first took up boxing as a 10 year old before joining the Royal Marines.

He will now go to Buckingham Palace to collect his honour, although it’s not the first time he’s been to the palace, as he attended a garden party there a few years ago.

His daughter Patricia Kelly-Blyth had been invited to the palace in recognition of her foster care work.

Mr Bishop said he was incredibly proud as now two people from his family have been invited to the palace for separate reasons.

He added: ‘We’ve got a good history in the family with the Queen.’

Mrs Kelly-Blyth, from Fareham, 56, said: ‘I’m absolutely thrilled. He has worked really hard over the years. He doesn’t get a thank you as such, so I’m over the moon for him.’

The honours system recognises people who have made achievements in public life or committed themselves to serving and helping Britain.

Mr Bishop’s five decades in the sport, and the various boxing champions he has coached, meant he was an ideal person for the honour.

A hugely respected and well-liked figure, he has given many generations of boxers their chance to shine.

In 2009 his remarkable achievements saw him honoured within boxing when he received the British Boxing Board of Control Lifetime Service Award.

Mr Bishop said: ‘There’s not always a lot of glory in boxing. There has been a lot of hard work and I’ve lost money.

‘But there has been so many good memories training champions and seeing people improve themselves.

‘I’m proud of what I’ve achieved.’