Mum of two steps into boxing ring in memory of her Romford brother
- Credit: Archant
The sister of a boxing fan who took his own life following years of depression is now stepping into the ring in his memory.
Angela Riding wants to take on the same boxing challenge her brother did in Romford three years ago to raise money for charity.
The 34-year-old said Christopher never came to terms with the death of his niece from a heart attack when she was only four days old.
Morgan Bulpitt, who shared the same birthday as Christopher, died 14 years ago.
Angela, who runs her own printing business, said: "Although she was my sister Natasha's daughter, not his, he just wasn't able to move on from losing her.
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"She would have been the first baby girl in the family and he never had kids himself so it was tough for him.
"He was only 16 at the time and couldn't understand how the world could let someone as young as that be taken away.
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"He loved boxing and football. He never fought professionally, but he used to love going to the gym and practising there. He was a very fit and active guy."
Christopher took his own life in March this year when he was just 29.
In 2016, Christopher, who lived in Romford, took part in an event run by Ultra White Collar Boxing in which participants get eight weeks of free professional training before a showcase event in front of hundreds of spectators.
Angela, who lives in Little Marton, Blackpool, said her brother had always said she should give it a try, saying: "When we spoke about it I was clear that I thought he was mad.
"I said 'you have to be off your head man', I just thought it was laughable that I could do it."
But following her brother's death, she decided she would sign up to the event to give her family something to focus on, and rally around.
Christopher, who worked as a painter and decorator, won his fight, which took place in Romford, by technical knockout.
Angela added: "He loved the whole event, he was a happy go lucky lad so he was always up for a challenge.
"I know that he made a lot of friends during the training because when I entered, some random guy messaged me on Facebook wishing me good luck.
"He said he had trained with Christopher and that he would love to come and see me fight.
"I think Christopher was absolutely thrilled to win his fight. His opponent was running his mouth before the event and so when he got the knockout he was well happy."
Now, Angela hopes to do the same when she takes part in her event at The Village, Blackpool, on November 10.
Those taking part are asked to sell tickets for the show and raise at least £50 for Cancer Research UK.
Angela said: "It's been so good for me having something to focus my mind on.
"I was in a very, very dark place seven or eight months ago - my whole family was. I was suffering from depression and anxiety and I found it harder and harder to socialise.
"Just generally, in day to day life, the training gives me more confidence. It has brought me out of the darkness and shows there are things that can make you feel better."
Angela said her partner, Steven Shorrocks, 35, supported her from the outset and has never doubted she was up to the challenge.
She said: "He's got every faith in me achieving my goal and he honestly cannot wait for the fight."
The mum of two admits she is worried she may find it hard when the training comes to an end.
She said: "In a way, I'm actually dreading the point when it's all over.
"But I think it will be the making of me in a way."
So far, Ultra Events - the company behind the event - has raised a staggering £19million for Cancer Research UK.