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Congratulations to Boxing Promoter Tommy Gilmour
(By Stephen Halliday, Boxing Correspondent, The Scotsman)
EVER since Scottish nobleman John Sholto Douglas gave his name to the Marquess of Queensberry Rules in 1867, boxing has enjoyed a regal connection.
Some 140 years later, a proud modern-day standard bearer of the integrity and regulation the Marquess sought to bring to the sport has enjoyed his very own Royal seal of approval.
For Tommy Gilmour, the Glasgow-based boxing impresario who has earned a worldwide reputation in the game, receiving the MBE from Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace in December 2007 was the highlight of his career.
Gilmour, part of a boxing dynasty which stretches back to his grandfather Jim Gilmour who boxed for Great Britain at the 1920 Olympic Games in Antwerp, was honoured by the Queen for services to both boxing and the community in Scotland.
His charitable work has always been just as important as his boxing business to Gilmour who has raised vast sums of money for a variety of good causes through his renowned St Andrew's Sporting Club, the cradle for young boxing talent in Scotland.
Not a man readily overcome by emotion, Gilmour was moved to tears when he received the official communication from the Palace informing him of the honour to be bestowed upon him.
For the uninitiated, the MBE grants its recipient the status of Member of the British Empire. The honours system was established in 1917 by King George V and has become a celebration and recognition of those who have made significant contributions in all areas of British society.
Gilmour had always considered the night in 1992 when his boxer Pat Clinton won a world flyweight title by defeating Isidro Perez of Mexico at the famous Kelvin Hall in Glasgow as the greatest achievement of his life in boxing but now has cause to revise that view.
"When I opened the letter from Buckingham Palace telling me I was being awarded the MBE, I must admit I shed a tear or two," says Gilmour.
"It's a fantastic honour, not just for me personally, but for my family and all the boxers and people I have worked with in the sport for the past 30 years or so.
"Boxing still has plenty of people who want to shoot it down, so it's tremendous that such a prestigious honour is given to someone in the sport. For me, it was also important that the MBE was for my community work because that has always gone hand in hand with trying to promote Scottish boxing in the best possible manner.
"Going to the Palace to receive my MBE from the Queen was something I will never forget. It was a fabulous experience and I was more nervous waiting to be presented to Her Majesty than I have ever been before any boxing match.
"She made me feel at ease, however, and was interested in my family connection with boxing which goes back to my grandfather's involvement as a top class amateur boxer. It was definitely the proudest day of my life to meet her in such circumstances."
For Gilmour, 2007 was a seminal year as he also published his autobiography, 'A Boxing Dynasty' which charts the fascinating link from his grandfather Jim, to his father Tommy Senior who was known as 'The Starmaker' for his promotional skills, through Tommy himself and onto his own son Christopher who is now a promoter in his own right.
"It has always been a family concern," says Tommy, "and I couldn't have achieved what I have in boxing without the support and help of my wife Veronica, Christopher and my daughter Stephanie.
"Hopefully the Gilmour connection with boxing in Scotland will continue for many years to come."
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