Kendal Judo Club’s Mike Liptrot stars as Olympic Torch Bearer

Kendal Judo Club was effectively turned into a `base camp’ for the first 21 torch bearers.

Bringing a whole new meaning to a `Kendal Judo Camp’ outside tents were erected with fantastic catering facilities. In attendance along with Regional Development Officer Dave Duffy were Area Committee members Richard Barraclough (Chairman), Harry Holt (Treasurer), Dawn Byrne, Paddy Byrne and Simon Smith.

Undoubtedly the star of the show was Kendal Judo Club Head Coach Mike Liptrot who was to carry the torch on the first leg from Kendal Castle.

Nobody had told the Area Committee contingent of the strenuous climb to the start of the days torch journey and the torrential rain didn’t help anybody as they jockeyed for position to witness Mike’s great day.

A fantastic early morning cheer went up as Mike managed to negotiate his way from the castle and down the precarious pathway without losing his footing and getting grass stains on his pristine torch-bearers uniform.

Earlier the Kendal Judo Club was the meeting point for the first 21 carriers and the briefing was fascinating as it was a chance to view the modified luggage rack on the bus which ferried the contingent to their respective carrying points – 21 torches were neatly arranged and ready for deployment at the front of the bus.

The club celebrated all day long with Olympic themed activity for scores of local schoolchildren and a civic event was held from noon at Kendal town Hall. Congratulations to the club, the town and more specifically Mike Liptrot who had the great honour of carrying the flame on its first leg while club chairman Peter Holme sported his Olympic 2012 uniform.

On Sunday, Ashton-under-lyne saw BJA junior member Matthew Slattery, son of one-time British international John Slattery, carrying the torch in conjunction with nine of his classmates. Matthew’s family were glowing with pride as he played his part in the historic relay event.