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The Bath Judo Club is celebrating its 50th anniversary, with its founder and chief coach, Peter Thatcher, still at the helm and playing a central role in the club’s ongoing development.

During those 50 years, the club, which is now situated at the Garraway Youth Club in Larkhall, has taught hundreds of children and adults the skills and disciplines of judo. Throughout that time, it’s the achievements of his students that has given Peter the most pride.

“The club caters for beginners in junior groups right up to senior players competing at international competitions, and it’s great to see them all develop through the training that we’re able to offer.

“For me, some of the most fulfilling moments have come when you have children who start off very shy or perhaps have special educational needs or low self-esteem, and you see them gain in self-confidence through their judo skills.

“All of the children who take part also gain in terms of improved coordination, confidence and fitness, as well as the enjoyment and friendship that comes through being members of our club. In addition, judo is a wonderful way for children to learn anti-bullying skills and a wide physical vocabulary.

“Many of our competitive players have been in the international squads and some have made it to the Olympic squad. Others have gone on to represent their universities, the armed forces and overseas teams.”

On a personal level, among of the highlights for Peter was being chosen to run with the Olympic torch in 2012, the same year that he was selected as the sports unsung hero for the West Country and runner up for the national unsung hero also in 2012.

Peter Thatcher of Bath Judo Club with the Olympic torch

As part of the celebrations for the club’s golden anniversary, Peter is planning a special training course with a Japanese instructor, in addition to looking forward to a twinning event with a judo club in Berne, Switzerland.

The Bath Judo Club hold regular junior and senior training sessions on Saturdays, Mondays and Fridays, with new members always welcome. For more details, visits www.bathjudo.org.uk.