Don Werner’s spirit alive as Pinewood wins the Devizes Trophy

Pinewood Judo Club were out in force at the annual Devizes Competition in September and having won the top club trophy for 38 consecutive years, it was the first attempt for the club to win since the passing of Pinewood Sensei Don Werner, earlier in the year.

“The whole club felt the hand of history was laying heavily on all of us,” said Mark Fricker, head coach at Pinewood.

“This trophy was particularly important to Don as the format of the competition allowed for representation of a club across all age and grades and was, he felt a good indication of the strength of a club. A great club spirit was evident with many of the young ones and parents staying behind long after they were finished to cheer the older ones on.”

This year was special in many ways: Pinewood’s former World Champion Karen Roberts returned to the mat, taking a gold in the +70kg division and scooping the ‘Top Woman Judoka’ award.

Karen said: “We went on the annual pilgrimage to Devizes. I hadn’t fought for seven years and it was the first time I have fought in Britain without Don. “I had several “chats” with Don during the day, and the Pinewood spirit he strived so hard to create lived on and we retained the trophy. “I am not at the club often, but I felt the support of everyone. Thank you again Don for reminding me why Pinewood and judo are so special, and thank you Mark (Geoff and Paul) for keeping the Pinewood spirit burning brightly.”

Words by Donna Richardson.