Royal rewards for two generations of Fareham family who love what they do

BOXING CLEVER Jack Bishop with his daughter Patricia Kelly-Blythe
BOXING CLEVER Jack Bishop with his daughter Patricia Kelly-Blythe
Mickey Parker fought at the O2 just 72 hours after chopping off the tip of his right index finger. Picture: Habibur Rahman

WARNING - GRAPHIC IMAGES: Leigh Park boxer’s glory after gruesome loss of fingertip

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IT COULD be the first time a father and daughter have been honoured with invitations to Buckingham Palace – for completely different achievements.

When he received a surprise call from the palace, local 88-year-old boxing legend Jack Bishop insisted his daughter came with him.

So he was astonished when Patricia Kelly-Blythe told him she could not accept his offer – because she had been invited as well.

A dedicated foster parent for more than 15 years, the 54-year-old, from Fareham, was receiving the reward for her services caring for the welfare of children.

‘At first I though she was pulling my leg,’ said Jack, from Gordon Road, in Fareham.

‘But now I’m really chuffed with the whole thing.

‘My daughter has worked hard for years looking after her children and she really deserves this.

‘Hopefully we’ll travel up to London together and make a real day of it.’

Second World War veteran Jack has been boxing since he was just 10 years old, and in a career spanning three-quarters of a century boxers he has trained have picked up a total of nine championship belts.

Such is his reputation that he is known as Mr Boxing, and counts Chris Eubank and Don King among a huge array of friends and associates in a sport where he is held in very high esteem.

‘I’m not too old to learn new things,’ he said.

‘But there isn’t that much I don’t know about boxing.

‘People have told me I deserve the recognition, and I suppose for someone with no big-time contacts I’ve done pretty well.

‘I just love it, I always have and always will, so I don’t need anything else really.’

His daughter Patricia works in Merrydale Children’s Home in Winchester, and together with her husband Graham she has taken 40 youngsters into her home to raise and look after.

‘I enjoy what we do,’ she said. ‘We haven’t had children of our own, so we thought we could offer what we do have to other young people.

‘We’re able to give them a caring home with good, stable influences.

‘Hopefully that does them a lot of good.

‘For my job I also work with children who have severe disabilities part time, and I love doing it.

‘It’s amazing to be invited to the palace, dad told me about him going and I couldn’t believe when I was asked as well.’

Jack has been recovering after a scare which saw him admitted to hospital earlier this year.

‘It was a close call,’ he said. ‘I’m still on the mend but hopefully by July I will be back to my old self.

‘I want to make sure it’s a day to remember.’

The pair have managed to arrange their trip on the same day, and will be heading up to London for their big day on July 19.