Community refurbishes Grimsby Judo Club’s new home

Wall built in memory of tragic teen member

An entire community has donated their time and energy to refurbish a new home for Grimsby Judo Club in loving memory of teenager Luke Walmsley – a member of the club up until he was killed in a school stabbing 10 years ago this November.

After four months of refurbishment, the club will officially re-open next Monday (14 October). Local people and businesses literally “rebuilt” the new club at a new premises across the road, after spending more than 34-years in an old hut.

One business has kept Luke’ memory alive in the form of a new wall holding up the foundations of the very club he loved. “Luke’s Wall” was built by Central Insulations, a company owned by Paul Walmsley – the father of the Cleethorpes schoolboy.

A photo of Luke now adorns the wall built at the new clubhouse in tribute.

This wall was just one of many donations by local businesses and individuals who rallied with goods, materials and services to help the club settle into their new home at St Martin’s Church Hall.

Such donations have enabled the club to complete the work, estimated at tens of thousands, for a fraction of that cost. Businesses that lent a helping hand include Howdens Kitchens- who donated a new kitchen suite, RG Motors – who funded a new sign and website plus Townsend Electricals, Brian Plant and Brett Emberly Builders – who bought compressed mats to go under the club’s old mats.

Other individual members of the community also gave many hours of their time for free, saving thousands in labour costs.

“Since then, we have built the club up and we now have more than 80 judoka.”Jennie Alltoft, club secretary and her husband Terry who runs the club, said: “When we started up the club 34 years ago, we had only tatty old mats and six members.

Now the permanent dojo is looking forward to the future and all that starts with the grand opening on Monday evening.

The former club hut has, in its time, nurtured at least 40 national and international champions who went on to Olympic, World, Commonwealth and British glory.

The peak of their pedigree are Olympic gold-winning duo Diane Bell, formerly of Crawcrook Judo Club, and Sharon Rendle.

Both Diane and Sharon will officially open the new club on Monday, with a ribbon cutting ceremony that starts at 6pm with the vicar in attendance to bless the club.

They, along with national champions Fred Bradley, Sandy Fry, Jay Nicholson, Anne Lucitt, Brett Embley, Bernie Alltoft, and Ian Johns all practised for hours in the old club hut.

However, when the opportunity to move to new premises, also owned by St Martins Church, came about, Terry and Jennie jumped at the chance to modernise, and now they hope the new dojo will produce even more champions and young talent.

Jennie said: “We are so thankful to all our members and people in the community who have given their time and services for free to make it a proper ‘home from home’.

“As well as all the work everyone has put in, we will have a new club sign and a new website, neither of which we have had since we started all those years ago.”

The new premises are 14 metres by 10.5 metres and for the first time includes a viewing area for parents.

The club is also able to take children from five onwards which is new for the club. Mat fees are £3.

New beginners for juniors classes will start on Thursday evenings.

For more information on senior times or about the club generally, email or call Terry on 07830 100 295.

Words by Donna Richardson 




Top right: A labour of love. Workmen gave their services for free to build new club foundations and fixtures. From left to right: Terry Alltoft, Ian Johns, Sean Campling, Shane Guest and Ryan Ellrich

Bottom left: Luke who died during a stabbing at his school and was a former member of Grimsby Judo Club.

Bottom right: Work as it progressed on the dojo