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Saturday, 19 April 2014

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Happy 60th for Furness Judo Club

REIGNING as long on the Barrow martial arts scene as Queen Elizabeth II has over Britannia, Furness Judo Club are celebrating their 60th anniversary this year.

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YOUNG AND OLD: Past and present members of Furness Judo Club SUBMITTED BY CHRIS TUCKER

The club marked the occasion with a reunion of past and present judoka from far and wide.

Members from across all generations of the club reminisced on previous conquests, relived competitions and met up with old training companions.

Varying judo styles and strategies were discussed throughout the evening and long into the night.

The club’s current youngsters mixed with their elders, with memorabilia collated by Christine Tucker on display.

Dennis Wrightwebb, the club’s 1st Dan, and Jim Wood, their second, were joined by successor John Bell and Alan Sharpe.

Sharpe, besides competing at a high level, held the reins of a number of successful juniors for a long time.

Also present were Eddie Backhouse, Steve Cresswell and Simon Burns, who all competed for the north west, ex-national junior champion Paul Neatis and former coach Pip Larkin.

The club was first founded in 1950 by Fred Edwards, but folded as members were drafted into the Armed Services. It restarted in 1952 as an affiliate to the British Judo Association, with William Armstrong, Jack Harrison and George Kirkby among the founders.

Furness regularly hosted visits by ‘the grandfather of British judo’ Gunji Koizumi in those early years.

The club have been based on the Strand and in the Lyric Hall, before moving to their present base at St Matthew’s Community Halls in 2005.

They have a large number of both junior and senior members who compete in the north west and further afield.

Many of the club’s members were recognised on the reunion night for their contribution over the past 60 years.

Long-service awards were handed out to Peter Leach – a coach for more than 40 years and a committee member – James Wood – a competitive 3rd Dan and a formidable competitor in the late 1960s, who still trains the junior section – and Wrightwebb – a former Great Britain international, who still coaches today.

Club president Steve Murray presented the awards, as well as thanking present coach Colin Tucker and Christine Tucker for their help and organisation.

lFurness Judo Club train at St Matthew’s Community Halls, Highfield Road, Barrow, on Mondays and Fridays. The junior sessions (for children aged eight and over) run from 6.45pm until 7.45pm and the seniors (for 16-year-olds plus) from 8pm until 9pm.

Have your say

Was such a welcoming club. Congrats and thanks for the memories.

Posted by Shelagh Fitzwilliam on 5 August 2012 at 14:37

This article brought back many happy memories, good luck for the next sixty years.

Posted by steve tyson on 25 June 2012 at 19:35

View all 3 comments on this article

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