IMAGINE being taught martial arts by a former national champion and European medal winner.

Well, that is a reality for a lucky group at Askam Village School who are being tutored taekwondo my former British champion, Louise Thornton.

Mrs Thornton, who works as a PE teacher at Dowdales School, in Dalton, has been instructing the Askam children how to perform a whole host of kick-based moves and combos, as well as teaching the sport's rules.

Askam Village School teacher, Stephen Cairns said: “Mrs Thornton has been great with the kids throughout this programme.

“The one-hour lessons started in mid-April and take place every Friday over a six-week period.

“I’ve never seen children take to something with so much enthusiasm.

"It’s a fantastic opportunity for them to be taught by a combat sport by someone of Mrs Thornton’s stature.

“It’s incredible, most of the kids had never heard of taekwondo and now it is all they talk about.”

From an early age, Mrs Thornton, who was brought up in Kendal, showed great promise within the world of martial arts.

She won her first professional medal at the tender age of 16, in the 1997 Junior European Championships, picking up a bronze.

Two years after her success at the European Championships, she would spend eight years undefeated as the Adult British Champion.

Mr Cairns added: "The students have come such a long way in a short space of time.

"Their competitive sides are alive when they're sparring."

Mr Cairns stated the Askam school have introduced the class as way of helping put the children on the right path to a healthier and active lifestyle.

"I've spoken to Mrs Thornton and she is on the same wave length as us when it comes to guiding the children into a better future," said Mr Cairns.

"As a school, we are trying to introduce these children into new activities which they might never have heard of before.

"They've definitely shown great interest and that's where it starts.

"Mrs Thornton started her journey by joining the Cumbrian Taekwondo Club and she became national champion for just under a decade - anything's possible."