Tribute to Empire Legend Glen Douglas

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The word legend is often bounded around, but in this man’s case its whole heartedly true.

For the history of Empire as a club, Glen Douglas was a well-known face and name in our history and heritage. A power lifter, a karate teacher, and a fitness coach in inner city Bristol, he is both equally respected and loved by all.

And sadly, Glen passed away aged 70 on Sunday 21st January. After a long battle with prostate cancer, he saw his last days out at St Peter’s Hospice, with all his family and countless friends visiting him.

Glen Douglas , an Empire legend , who died on  Sunday 21st January aged 70.

After being born in Clarendon, Jamaica, he came to England in 1965 and joined the Empire Sports Club three years later.

Chris Sanigar, a former Empire boxer, and owner of the Bristol Boxing Gym remembered him well. He said: " It's just shocking to think, you know, how fit he was, a pillar of fitness and strength to pass away like that. Without a doubt you would put him in the Empire legend category.

I've known him, from right back since 1973, from training at the Empire. And he had so many disciplines, he was just an amazing all-rounder. From weight training, and obviously karate was his thing. He had his own gym in Easton over there, he’s done it all really.

He lived and breathed the Empire. Everybody who had gone into the Empire knew Glen Douglas.”

Chris Sanigar (right) former Empire boxer and owner of Bristol Boxing Gym with Glen Douglas (centre) and friends.

Chris had recently been to visit Glen at the Hospice and saw Glen smiling, sharing laughter and stories. He continued: “ To know a good friend like him, someone that has always been around, and think we will no longer see him again is so sad. He was a very, very popular guy. And not just saying this, but I've never heard a bad word from anyone about him.”

One of his greatest friends, who met Glen at Empire, and was his partner at Scorpion Karate club is Lloyd Russell. Lloyd was a childhood friend who has been supporting Glen at the Hospice and keeping people up to date with his regular Facebook posts.

He paid tribute to his special friend by saying : “Glen was a true living icon who practised what he preached. He was one of the fiercest and toughest men I knew, but at the same time the most caring and loving human being l have ever met."

The annual Empire Club reunion at Rose Green Centre in Bristol. Glen sporting his Empire t-shirt (right) stood next to his mentee weight lifting champion Bradley Burrowes and his great friend Lloyd Russell (centre with cap).

Lloyd continued : "Those of us that knew and had a personal relationship with him can only say it was a real honour. Those of us that trained and fought by his side can only say what a gladiator and a true champion. Glen’s legacy will live on through everyone that was blessed to come across his great presence.”

Glen influenced and mentored many people in his life, who benefitted from his wisdom and knowledge.

One such person was Bradley Burrowes, the weightlifting champion. He said: “Glen was more than a coach to me, he was a cherished family friend, an uncle in every sense. 

His unwavering support and motivation were the driving force behind my success as an Olympic weightlifter. With him by my side, I achieved numerous British titles, shattered records, and competed globally at the highest level. 

Weight lifting Champion Bradley Burrowes in action. He was mentored by Glen and went onto to compete in the Olympic Games.

I would find myself in the gym with Glen, experiencing what he fondly called a 'beasting.' His relentless dedication to pushing me beyond my limits was both challenging and transformative.  

Glen's legacy lives on in the victories we shared and the indelible mark he left on my journey. His guidance and friendship will be deeply missed, but his spirit will forever inspire my pursuits. 

Rest in peace, dear coach, mentor, motivator.”

From everyone at Empire Fighting Chance and Bristol Boxing Gym we offer our sincere heartfelt condolences to Glen and his family at this time.

Details for  Glen Douglas funeral – Tuesday 13th February 2024

10:45-12:15pm : Service – City Road Baptist Church, St Pauls.

1pm : Cremation – Canford Lane (Family only)

2:30pm : Wake reception – Rose Green Centre