Boxer Randolph Turpin lived at Gwrych Castle Abergele in the early 1950s whilst preparing for his fight against Sugar Ray Robinson.
Turpin met his second wife Gwyneth (née Price, 1925-1992) the daughter of a Welsh farmer whilst training for the Robinson fight at Gwrych Castle. They married in 1953 and had four daughters, Gwyneth, Annette, Charmaine and Carmen.
Here’s a British Movietone 30″ video clip of his triumphant return to north Wales after beating Sugar Ray :
He was born in Leamington in 1928 to a black Guyanan father and white English mother at a time when there were almost no people of mixed race in the country.
When European champion, Turpin won the world title after beating the legendary Robinson, widely regarded as pound-for-pound the greatest fighter in history, on a 15-round decision at Earls Court in July 10, 1951.
Randolph Turpin famously trained at Gwyrch Castle in Abergele in the summer of 1951 when preparing for his contests against the seemingly invincible Sugar Ray Robinson. The training sessions were always attended by hundreds of fans and tourists.
He became an instant celebrity and, for a brief period, spent each day being mobbed by fans at his Abergele training base at Gwrych Castle.
Laater in his career, he bought a pub on the summit of the Great Orme , Llandudno, which today keeps some artefacts from his boxing career. He was the registered licensee of that pub between 1952 – 1961.
According to articles, reports and a biography, Turpin couldn’t deal with the obscurity resulting from the loss of his crown. After being declared bankrupt , Turpin shot himself dead in May 1966.
It was a tragic end for a man linked with Abergele who did so much for British sport, for British Black History, and whose achievements as a boxer will never be forgotten.
Despite his life’s tragic ending, one-time Abergele resident Turpin had briefly been one of the most famous men in Britain and an inspiration for many ethnic minorities.
Turpin was inducted as a member of the International Boxing Hall Of Fame in Canastota, New York in 2001. There is a statue of him in Market Square, Warwick.