Sheffield’s female boxing icon, Alma Ingle dies of cancer aged 81

Sheffield has lost a female boxing icon, Alma Ingle, after she passed away due to cancer at the age of 81 on Sunday.

Tuesday, 23rd March 2021, 1:58 pm

Alma, who was also the wife of the late world champion boxing trainer, Irish-born Brendan Ingle, died at St Luke's Hospice after being diagnosed with cancer in November last year.

But Alma was more than just the wife of the legendary boxing coach, as she also carved her name of her own in the male-dominated sport.

In 1975, she became qualified as an amatuer boxing judge - the first female in the NorthEast region and one of only three in the whole country at the time.

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Brendan and Alma Ingle of Newman Road, Wincobank.

Her passion for boxing was inspired by her husband, as she learnt a lot by accompanying Brendan to many boxing shows and helping out at their boxing gym called Ingle Gym, based in Wincobank.

In a book written by Peter Markie on the couple, she once said: "Women should not be put off by the heavy male presence at boxing and I would advise any who fancy having a go to pursue it."

Alma's career began to flourish, as she obtained a professional boxing promoters license in 1981 - only the second woman in the country to hold a licence.

Her distinguished work in the industry continued to be widely recognised when became the first female to be elected to a British Boxing Board of Control divisional committee.

Brendan and Alma Ingle of Newman Road, Wincobank.

Alma was also a major part of the success of Ingle Gym, which she worked in partnership with Brendan.

The gym gained a reputation for not only producing champion boxers such as Johnny Nelson, Naseem “Prince” Hamed, Junior Witter and Kell Brook, but also taking as much care and time in turning around the lives of troubled young people.

They both created a family-like atmosphere and inclusive environment that continues until today and she did it all whilst raising five children.

Her eldest daughter, Dr Bridget Ingle has paid a moving tribute to the much-loved Alma.

Alma and Brendan at Brendan's Glove Garden on Newman Road when the carved Sandstone boxing gloves were installed. Picture by Bridget Ingle.

She said: “We are devastated by the death of our mother Alma Ingle. In an era where women lost their jobs when they had children, she carved a place for herself in the boxing world alongside our father Brendan.

"Alma was a scientist with a brilliant mind. She worked as a metallurgist in Hadfields steel works before having five children. We were brought up to stand on our own two feet, make the best of what we'd got and get on with it. That is how she lived her life.

"Her cancer was rare and aggressive. She had the best cancer care through the Sheffield Teaching hospitals and in particular Weston Park. St Luke's hospice made it possible for her to have a good death. For that we will be eternally grateful.

"There's no point in crying about it now, she said when she found out it spread. So we will celebrate her life by holding her values close and be treating everyone we meet as we would expect to be treated ourselves”.

The work of the Ingle Gym continues through their sons Dominic and John. In the next few months, boxers from the Ingle Gym will compete for British and world titles.

Alma married Brendan in 1961. She left behind five children and 14 grandchildren.