Each week we are celebrating the work of our amazing “Judo Heroes” – members who are currently working and volunteering across the country during the global Covid-19 pandemic.

There are a number of fantastic initiatives being carried out throughout Great Britain and we would like to celebrate the work of our members currently involved in these projects. Each week we will profile a range of work from our “judo heroes”.

If you know of a member who is currently working within their local community, fundraising or going above and beyond to help those isolated, please nominate them to become one of our “Judo Heroes” whereby we will profile their work.

We have selected three excellent “heroes” to share with you this week:


Barnet Judo Club’s Chris Grilli and his family have turned their living room in to a 24 hour 3D printing operation.

They are producing some 900 visors a week that are being donated to local hospitals on a regular basis. As well as Chris (who teaches the primary class at Barnet Judo Club) and the whole family, Riki Urquhart and Aga Laskowska have been involved with helping put together and deliver masks. Producing the masks has been described like having a baby all over again, being woken every 2 hours to change the reels on the printers.

Their story was recently featured on Channel 4 News and can be seen at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gz4MS6v-7gs

You can donate at https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/emily-grilli

Chris works for Nissan and after approaching them has managed to get the Sunderland plant to help with producing up to 56,000 visors a week. Once the visors are no longer needed, the printers purchased with donations will be donated to local secondary schools.

Rheigan is a valued member of Castle Douglas Judo Club, who has volunteered within the club for many years, and is on the club committee, despite being just 21 years old.

Rheigan qualified as a nurse last year (as well as getting her 1st Dan), and started work in an A&E department in Carlisle in September 2019. Rheigan has been on the frontline in the hospital treating patients who come into the hospital with Covid-19, which would be daunting for most nurses, never mind one at the start of her career.

This has led to her moving out of her family home, staying in a hotel by herself for over 3 weeks to keep her family safe during this time. Rheigan had to take some time off work with suspected Covid-19 symptoms, but was back working in the hospital as soon as she was cleared to do so, and states she is just doing her job, always playing down the role she is performing in helping to save lives.

Amber Barrie 1st Dan was an active and competitive under 70Kg Judoka, she represented the NW Area in the National team championships last year and trained regularly at both Manchester and Sandbach Judo Club’s.

However, a niggling injury led her down an unexpected path just prior to the Covi 19 lockdown and she ended up under the surgeon’s knife. Her rehabilitation was on track as the nation went into this awful period of uncertainty but she has been supporting the community whilst also working and keeping up the fitness training for a full return to competitive Judo after undergoing major hip surgery only 10 weeks ago.

In addition to her day job, she has been taken on to support the production and delivery of PPE equipment for the NHS fitting this in around her structured rehabilitation and fitness regime. Most Judoka cannot wait for this all to be over and get back on the mat – for Amber this desire is compounded by the fact that the injury, hospitalisation and operation have extended her Judo drought for even longer.

Early indications from training in her garden show that both the hip and her Uchi-komi are coming on a treat and she vows to be back better than ever