Buxton’s Olympic nostalgia

Dave Starbrook (left) and Tony McConnell (second from right) with Ken Newsome (far right) and members of Buxton Judo Club during a club meet. Photo contributed.
Dave Starbrook (left) and Tony McConnell (second from right) with Ken Newsome (far right) and members of Buxton Judo Club during a club meet. Photo contributed.
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BUXTON Judo club entertained some very special guests when they celebrated their 25th anniversary.

Less than 12 months prior to the Moscow Summer Games, the entire Great Britain judo squad accepted an invitation to visit.

The team of star names - managed by ex-Olympian Dave Starbrook and former European heavyweight Tony McConnell - took part in a huge competition hosted by the Buxton club on Saturday September 1, 1979.

Former Buxton resident Ken Newsome, who was instrumental in setting up Buxton Judo Club and submitted the above photograph, said: “I don’t suppose any Olympic squad has come to Buxton before, and as 2012 is Olympic year I thought this would be quite topical now for Buxton Advertiser readers.”

Clubs from across the North West sent teams to compete in the anniversary competition - and each one had the chance to work alongside a member of the GB team.

At that time, Buxton was known for having a good young squad - and this was reflected in them winning the junior competition.

The event also saw Ken awarded a statuette in recognition of his 25 years of service to the British Judo Association.

Now aged 83 and living in Congleton, Ken was involved with Buxton Judo Club until 1989 when he left the area following his retirement.

He said: “I enjoyed every minute of my time with the club, especially working with the juniors. We had some really good young members.”

Ken also recalls how members had raised money for the Olympic squad ahead of the Moscow games through sponsored ‘cat dips’ - a version of press-ups.