At school, I was selected for several sports teams but none of these opportunities really floated my boat! As refusing selection was not an option, because of the school’s ethos, I needed to think of another solution. By chance I found out that a friend fenced and his father was a coach. I tagged along to their club, liked what I found and forty years later I’m still loving this great sport. At school we spread the word and eventually had group of about 6 fencers, enough to form a team. Next an inter-school league was started, we even persuaded the school to let us practice in the weekly PE and Games lessons. That meant I was fencing 4 hours per week in school time and 4-6 hours out of school per week. This was fantastic, my fencing skills, at all three weapons, developed rapidly during this period.
As a youngster I received great support with the loan of equipment and coaching. I vowed to myself that one day I would put something similar back into the sport. The time became right for me to act on this promise to myself in 1992 when my first coach, who has still coaching at the local university, became seriously ill and had to give up the role. Subsequently I’ve made it my mission to help as many people as possible, to have the opportunity to try this sport in South Yorkshire and the surrounding areas.
If fencing grabs your interest like it did mine you may be interested in the network of clubs I’m creating here in South Yorkshire. The aim is to give the would be fencer in this area the chance to get coaching from beginner level to national standard in surroundings which are appropriate to their needs. One person can’t do this all by them self, much as they might try, so I thank everyone who contributes, in whatever way to the organisation and running on the clubs I have mentioned.
Below you’ll find some other life experiences that went into the making of this coach:
British Fencing qualified to: Foil – Level 3, Sabre – Level 2 and Epee – Level 2.
I have started 3 clubs:
A ‘hub’ club -
- 2003 – Sheffield Sword Club (SSC) – Which is now run and managed by an independent committee.
A series of ‘satellite’ clubs to help feed the hub club:
- 2008 – Kiveton Park & Wales Fencing Club (KPWFC) – Invited to start a Rotherham based satellite club after running successful local after school clubs. Club managed jointly with committee.
- 2010 - Mylnhurst Community Fencing Club (MCFC) – A Sheffield based satellite club managed jointly with a committee.
Additional coaching activities:
- 2008 - Outreach projects to schools, community groups, colleges and universities throughout South Yorkshire, North Derbyshire and North Nottinghamshire. Delivered to children, youths, adults, able bodied, those with a wide range of physical and mental disabilities and behavioural issues.
- 2009 – University of Sheffield Fencing Club (USFC) – Invited to coach here again. Club managed by student committee.
- 2002 – Started refereeing all weapons (foil epee and sabre) at various local, regional and national competitions for children and adults.
- 2012 – Latest refereeing experience May 2012 British
- Professional fencing coach – from 2002
- Small business owner (building services) – 2008-9
- Partner in a construction firm – 2005-8
- Civil servant at DFES – 2004-5
- Project manager / Data Analyst at HSBC 1998-2003
- Branch manager/staff HSBC – 1977-98
- Internal sales representative at William Timpson & Son 1975-6
- Yes, fencing is still a hobby too (1972 to date)
- Astronomy (1969 to date), started with inspiration from Patrick Moore’s Sky at Night programme and the Moon landing. Kit comprised a pair of opera glasses and a 30mm telescope! I now have a TAL 100RS and 70×20 binoculars.
- Photography (1972 to date), started with inspiration from Don McCullin’s photojournalism, Ansel Adams’ landscapes and Henri Cartier-Bresson’s timing. Sadly the wet darkroom is long gone and is now replaced with a digital camera and GIMP.
- Snooker (1973 to date), Sadly more enthusiasm than talent but it’s relaxing.
- Hill walking (1965 to date), I’ve always lived near the Peak District national park, and go walking as often as possible.