Martin Bisp and Jamie Sanigar

Martin, our CEO, has voluntarily managed and coached at the Empire Amateur Boxing Club since 2004 and worked as a private sector business analyst for over 20 years.

Jamie, our COO, has had a lifelong involvement in professional boxing and experience in running businesses, managing athletes and promoting large sporting events.

Together, they recognised the potential of what they were building, as did more and more organisations and partners.


Charlotte Leslie

Charlotte has a range of experience from charity work to politics, television and sports coaching. Charlotte was the Member of Parliament for Bristol North West between 2010-2017, and is currently Director of the Conservative Middle East Council. She has previously worked for The Scouts and as Education Associate with The Young Foundation. Before her election as MP, she was Special Adviser to then Shadow Education Secretary, David Willetts. In 2011 Charlotte formed the All Party Parliamentary Group for Boxing with the aim of promoting the sport and keeping it high on the agenda in Westminster.

Dr. Simon Newitt

Simon has been a trustee since Empire’s founding as a charity. He is a cultural anthropologist and sociologist with a 25-year professional background working in a variety of frontline and leadership roles across children’s and adult mental health services. He has also taught at several UK universities on issues of youth, social exclusion, and mental health. For nine years he was Chief Executive of the award-winning young people’s mental health charity, Off the Record (Bristol), and he is currently a senior consultant in leadership and organisation development at The King’s Fund, a health think-tank based in London that works with leaders at all levels across the NHS, local government and third sector.

David Phillips, Treasurer 

David is a Chartered Global Management Accountant who has held a number of Senior Directorships throughout his career. David is currently the Finance and Operations Director of Allcooper Group, a security company.  

Alexander Campbell 

Alexander has held senior positions in strategy and marketing development in the financial services industry. Alexander has over 20 years’ experience in martial arts and boxing, and currently runs a youth club in north Bristol.

Crispin Busk 

Crispin is the Founder and CEO of Kabuto Noodles, a Bristol based business. Crispin and his company have been committed  supporters of Empire Fighting Chance for many years. Crispin recently joined our Board to provide us with entrepreneurial thinking and commercial acumen as we scale our work across the country.


Alex Beresford

Alex Beresford is a Bristol-born TV personality and ITV presenter, who became involved in the work at Empire Fighting Chance when filming for his knife crime documentary in 2019.

Growing up in the inner-city areas around our gym, Alex is passionate about the local community, and about enabling young people to become the best versions of themselves. He sees boxing as a great vehicle for this.

Marvin Rees, Mayor of Bristol

Marvin has been the elected Mayor of Bristol since 2016. He was born and raised in Easton and used the Empire gym as young man. After graduating from Swansea University, Marvin worked in international development and as a BBC journalist before stints as an NHS Programme Manager and Local Authority Director in Bristol. A Yale University World Fellow, Marvin has a track record of leadership across the political, public and voluntary sectors in both the UK and United States.

Simon Whitlock

Professional dart player, Simon ‘The Wizard’ Whitlock is the greatest dart player ever from Australia. 
Simon made waves in the darting world when he reached two world championship finals in the space of three years. Since then, The Wizard has won numerous titles in the Professional Darts Corporation including the 2012 European Championships and most recently the 2022 World Cup of Darts. 

After living in the UK for well over a decade now, Whitlock has seen the socio-economic changes in the UK that disproportionately affect a generation of youngsters from poorer backgrounds, and will be working closely with us to help those in need. 

Lee Selby 

Lee Selby was born and raised in Barry, South Wales. Lee was raised in a tough deprived community where violence, drugs and crime was an everyday occurrence. Lee often agrees that if it wasn’t for the sport of boxing he too may have ended up in trouble with the law as many of his friends did.

Lee won the IBF World Featherweight Title on May 30th 2015 and is regarded as one of Britain’s best boxers. Lee is managed by fellow Empire Ambassador Chris Sanigar trains at the Bristol Boxing Gym often visits and mentor’s some of the young people on our programmes.


Chris Sanigar 

Chris is Empire Amateur Boxing Club’s Life President, a role which was bestowed to the man who kick-started the Empire success story in 2010.

Chris boxed for the club, reached the national ABA finals in 1977 and was the first boxer from the Empire ABC to box for England.

Photo of Chris Sanigar © Betina La Plante


Liam Norwell 

Liam is an elite sportsman and English cricketer who currently plays for Warwickshire. A right handed batsman and right hand medium pace bowler, he made his first-class debut for Gloucestershire against Derbyshire in April 2011.

Liam has been an strong advocate for Empire Fighting Chance, visiting the gym and introduced us to local schools in Bristol that needed our support. As well as amplifying our message, he has worked alongside our young people and given up his time which has been, as always, gratefully received.


John Hirst

Until 2021, John was Chief Executive of Destination Bristol, a successful joint venture between Bristol City Council and Business West which works closely in partnership with its members, key stakeholders and partners.

John is a huge advocate for mental health and wellbeing, and has helped us with introductions to potential donors and connections which has also furthered the support for the Empire Fighting Chance programme.


Giles Cross

Giles Cross is founder and CEO of FOLK2FOLK, a peer-to-peer lending company. He is, in terms of both thought and execution, able to understand the requirements of a business and its audience, delivering customer centric campaigns and activity aligned to corporate objectives. Recognised as an influential and inspirational public speaker, communicating ideas and purpose with confidence, energy and passion.


Tommy David

Tommy David is a former Wales international rugby union and rugby league player. He was selected for the 1974 British Lions tour to South Africa, and at the time played club rugby for Llanelli RFC. He also played for his home-town club Pontypridd RFC, and while at the club was part of the 1976 Grand Slam winning Wales team. In 1981 he switched codes to rugby league, representing Cardiff City Blue Dragons.




Martin Bisp – Founder and CEO

Jamie Sanigar – Founder and COO

Michael Fuller – Director of Growth

Luke Jones – Head of Operations

Joanna Le Vannais – Head of Fundraising

Catherine Bisp – Finance and Administration Manager

Emily Haberfield – Fundraising and Marketing Executive

Ellie Milone – Communications and Advocacy Manager

Helen Jenkins – Family Liaison Officer

Emma Whale – Therapy Line Manager

Sam Kotadia – Sports Psychologist

Ally Britton – School Liaison Officer

Eleanor Sadler – Monitoring and Evaluation Officer

Aaron Morten – Growth and Development Manager

Courtney Young – Senior Coach and Spokesperson

Jimmy Rowbottom – Coach

Matt Webster – Coach Supervisor

Ben Whitworth – Coach Supervisor

Chris Gale – Careers Manager

Harry Powell – North West Lead Coach

Heather Head – Coach

Luke Foxall – Coach

Dalma Divinszki – Coach

Oliver Jones – Coach

Serena Wiebe – Coach

Titus Gaunt – Coach

Marcus Hopson – Coach

Stephen Nesbitt – Therapist

Elaine Miller – Therapist

Hannah Owen – Therapist

Simone Retief – Therapist

Chris Wheeler – Therapist

Meg Stephens – Therapist

Kassia Humphries – Fundraising Intern

Mila King – Admin Assistant

Jennifer Mendonca – Apprentice Coach

Kierah Webber – Apprentice Coach