A YOUNG martial arts fan has come out fighting after the death of his mother.

Thomas Guest’s father, Russ Guest feared that the four-year-old would not be able to continue his lessons after Stacy Blinkhorn, who had Spina Bifida, died of sepsis in September.

But the owners of Novas Freestyle Martial Arts Academy, based at The Zone, in Bolton Road, Bury, came to the rescue and offered the boy a year’s scholarship.

Owner Lewis Clark, aged 31, was concerned that the family would not be able to afford for Thomas to continue his lessons.

He said: “I didn’t want the disappointment of Thomas having to stop coming to the club. We are here to help him and the last thing we would want is for his martial arts to suffer.”

Mr Guest, from Radcliffe, is grateful for the offer. He said: “It means an awful lot. We can concentrate on his martial arts which has helped his confidence and helped him develop over the time he has been going.”

The scholarship will pay for Thomas’s classes and exam costs.

Mr Clark added:“We missed Stacy straight away, it’s not the same at the club without her, she was so involved.”

“She loved her son coming to us, and she could see how much the martial arts helps him.

“Thomas graded on Friday and I started welling up because I know how much it would have meant to her for him to pass.

“It has inspired us as a club to realise that there are others out there for the scholarship.”

The scholarship will continue in Ms Blinkhorn’s memory in future years.

“We will try and offer it out to one person from Bury who we believe will benefit the most, regardless of their background,” said Mr Clark.

The scholarship marks another development in a hugely successful inaugural year for Novas which celebrates its one-year anniversary on November 5.

The club, which offers classes in Karate and Kick Boxing, has seen its membership grow to over 150, and it has also been shortlisted for seven awards, including Lewis Clark for Coach and Volunteer of the Year at this year’s Bolton Sports Awards.

Mr Clark, a former student nurse and black belt first dan in karate and kick boxing, lives in Bolton with his wife Jamie, who is also a black belt in Jiu Jitsu, and the pair run the club, which opened a year ago.

Mr Clark is ambitious about the clubs future adding: “I started training in Bolton, and I had always loved teaching children. I treat every single one of my students like my own children.

“But for years the club was just a pipe dream.

“Now we just want to keep expanding and we want to try and push forward and take the kids further afield.

“My sole goal is to give kids confidence to believe in themselves and stand up to bullies,” said Mr Clark.