When Harry (and Meghan) met Martin

March 05 2019

IT'S not every day you get the chance to rub shoulders with royalty but one Downend man was lucky enough to meet both Harry and Meghan when the couple visited Bristol recently.

 Martin Bisp, centre, and Jamie Sanigar meet the royal couple

Martin Bisp, centre, and Jamie Sanigar meet the royal couple


As founder of the charity Empire Fighting Chance, Martin Bisp showed the Duke and Duchess of Sussex around a gym in Easton which is encouraging young people to take up boxing rather than turn to crime.
Martin, 48, and co-founder Jamie Sanigar, 38, accompanied the couple along with Bristol mayor and former boxer Marvin Rees and chair of the charity's trustee board, David Fordham.
After a private 15 minute conversation about the charity, Martin introduced Harry and Meghan to two of the young people he has worked with.
Martin said Harry had grasped at once the aims of the charity and the impact of its work on young people.
It was Harry's approach to one individual that really impressed Martin. The Duke was introduced to 15-year-old Iestyn Jones who had lost a parent.
Martin said: “Iestyn and the Duke had a shared experience of grief and when Iestyn got visibly upset the Duke cleared the room and showed extraordinary compassion, something that Iestyn will never forget.”
Harry and Meghan then went on to meet young people from primary school age to post 18.
“They spent time with everyone and appeared genuinely interested in their stories,” said Martin.
“At one point Jamie and I spoke about how difficult it was in the beginning to attract funders' interest and Prince Harry was shocked and said 'What is being achieved here is so important, especially for our young people. It really is incredible to see'.”
At the end of the visit Martin and Jamie presented them with 'his and hers' personalised boxing gloves, labelled Duke of Sussex and Duchess of Sussex.
Kensington Palace’s 'Thank you for the boxing gloves' tweet was one of the most popular of the day.