Yoshin Ryu Judo Club moves to new home in Leigh
8:20am Friday 22nd February 2013 in North West
THE Yoshin Ryu Judo Club has moved to new premises in the town centre – 58 years after it was established in Leigh.
MP Andy Burnham, a keen soccer and rugby follower, tried his hand at a new sport when he officially opened the club’s new home at the former United Reformed Church building, in Union Street, on Saturday.
Although he had not experienced judo before, he got to grips with 3rd Dan instructor Mark Hayes in a light-hearted contest on the mat.
Club chairman and 1st Dan Gary Firth said: “The club was established at Leigh Junior School in 1955 when the dojo was run by Len Pitchford, then it was taken over by Eric Hayes. Now, at the age of 67, 7th Dan Eric is the chief instructor.”
After a move to Bedford Church in 1967, clubs were formed in Lowton, Higher Fold and Blackrod, then the club set up in its own premises in Findlay Street.
After a spell in Church Street with the club’s first fitted mat dojo, the British Judo Association club has finally settled in Union Street.
“We now have more than 90 members and we like to be involved in the community and try to be inclusive.
“Everybody is welcome, no matter what their background,” said Dan.
“We have junior members, aged five to 15, and seniors from 16 upwards.”
Training sessions are held on Tuesdays and Thursdays for juniors, 6pm to 7pm, and seniors, 7pm to 8.30pm; and on Saturdays and Sundays for juniors, 12pm to 1pm, and seniors, 1pm to 2.30pm.