Pride of Bethnal Green John H Stracey awarded MBE
By James Blears
Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth has awarded Green and Gold WBC welterweight legend John H Stracey the MBE, who is Member of the British Empire, in her Platinum Jubilee year, celebrating 70 years of her reign.
The announcement came on Thursday, June 2.
In a glittering amateur career, John H Stracey amassed a fabulous array of championships. He won a national ABA Schools title, two National Junior ABA crowns, the NABC Championship, represented Great Britain in the 1968 Olympics, and then triumphed by becoming the ABA Senior Champion.
As a professional he flourished, winning the British, European and World Boxing Council title. John`s pinnacle achievement in defeating Jose Napolis in the sixth round at the Plaza De Toros on December 6th 1975, is the greatest ever performance of a British boxer abroad. It came just one day after Don Jose Sulaiman was unanimously elected President of the World Boxing Council in Tunis. Forever after, Don Jose referred to John H as: “My first champion!”
It´s not the first time John has met the Queen. He and the GB Olympic Team were invited to Buckingham Palace in 1968. He was presented again, this time on the Queen´s fortieth Jubilee along with Wife Kathy Jane and his Mum, but this time will be especially magical.
In addition to his boxing exploits John H tirelessly works to help a host of charities. John H is a WBC Ambassador and helps with WBC Cares. Also Stick N Step which tackles youth homelessness, Cerebral Palsy, the NSPCC, charity runs and many other fund raisers, because John H has a world class singing voice, which audiences love. He said: “We try to do what we can, and we do our best. We do it out of respect for people. We just get on with it. I invite a lot of people who are willing to help by donating a lot of money. They are generously willing to help, which is fantastic.”
John H´s Mother-in-Law, who is in frail health is in a care home. He and his wife Kathy Jane constantly visit, and every Thursday John does a show singing all of their traditional favourites: Hang out your washing on the Sigfried line, We`ll Meet Again, The White Cliffs of Dover and many more.
As a child John’s Parents took him to many London landmarks including Hyde Park, the Tower of London and of course outside the Gates of Buckingham Palace, and now he`ll be walking through its gates for the third time, on this occasion to receive this so well- deserving award. He said: “My Dad and Mum would have been so thrilled and proud. They were very much Queen and Country. Together, they were with me and supporting me, every step of the way in my boxing career. I cherish that. And I kept my promise to them to retire at the age of twenty seven, having achieved everything in Boxing.”
But…when I received the letter from the What in, John put it to one side for several days, mistakenly thinking it was correspondence about his coin collection, which is safely under lock and key and obviously not at home. When he finally opened it, he rushed straight to the phone to gratefully accept this accolade, PDQ, ASAP and with sincere thanks!
World Boxing Council President mauritius sulayman is thrilled for John H. and Katy Jane. He said: “John H Stracey was the first ever champion of my Father Jose Sulaiman´s glorious era as President. He dethroned favorite and national hero Jose “Butter” Naplesjust one day after my Father was elected World Boxing Council President. John H. has represented Boxing as a great role model and is today a proud Ambassador of Peace for the WBC. He`s one of the nicest persons you could ever meet. Many Congratulations John H.”
In all of his charity work John H has been helped by his lovely Wife Kathy Jane, who is by his side. She´s absolutely thrilled about this prestigious award from the Queen. John H said: “The full realization still has not quite hit me and sunk in, because it´s such a wonderful surprise. You don´t expect this, but it´s marvelous. You realize that you’ve achieved something. We’re both so looking forward to going to Buckingham Palace in the near future and meeting Her Majesty.”
John H Stracey is the Pride of Bethnal Green, the East End, the World Boxing Council and The Very Best of British. Congratulations Champion!