Council box off ‘Spider’ trophy

The Lord Lonsdale Featherweight Championship Trophy presented to Jimmy 'Spider' Kelly in 1938.
The Lord Lonsdale Featherweight Championship Trophy presented to Jimmy 'Spider' Kelly in 1938.

A rare trophy presented to a local boxing legend in the 1930s has been snapped up by Derry City Council.

The Lord Lonsdale Featherweight Championship Trophy - which belonged to Jimmy ‘Spider’ Kelly - was auctioned in England this week.

The specialist sporting memorabilia event was hosted by Bonhams in Chester on Wednesday.

The two-handled engraved silver trophy - which is set on an ebonised plinth - was sold for £2,500.

The purchase has been welcomed by local SDLP councillor John Boyle who says the trophy is a “valuable piece of sporting history to the city.”

He said: “This trophy will mean a great deal to the boxing fraternity in Derry and more so to the extended Kelly family, in particular.

“This is money well spent because artefacts like this are unique in history and rarely ever come up for auction. It will now belong to the people of Derry in perpetuity and future generations will have the opportunity to view it and learn the story of the fighting ‘Spiders’.”

A spokesperson for the City Council’s Heritage and Museums Service said the trophy would now become a “valued addition” to its sporting memorabilia collection.

The trophy was presented to ‘Spider’ Kelly Senior after he defeated Londoner Benny Caplan for the vacant British and British Empire Featherweight titles at Belfast’s King’s Hall in November 1938.

The ‘Journal’ recently revealed that a memorial to Jimmy and his son Billy - the only father and son to hold the British and British Empire Featherweight titles - is to be erected in the city later this year.

A memorial plinth and seating area is to be located at the top of Waterloo Street.