A MARCH man has become one of the first blind pensioners in the country to gain his black belt in Judo.
Sixty-seven-year-old John Hammond gained his Shoden first Dan at a grading session at Stukeley Village Hall and dedicated his remarkable achievement to his wife Eileen, who died last week after a long illness and also to Cam Sight a charity based in Chatteris and Cambridge.
John, who is not only registered blind and has a guide dog to help him get around also has insulin-controlled diabetes and has suffered a stroke.
He has been training with the Tokoshime Budo Council International based at Swavesley Community College for the last six years and has worked up through the various belts.
He dedicated his black belt to his tragic wife in recognition for all the support she has given him in pursuit of his sport including taking him each week to training. He also thanked his brother-in-laws.
John, who was born in Chatteris, but has lived in March for many years, hopes his achievement will encourage other people not to give up, but to go for your targets.
And said that Judo and other martial arts are an excellent way of helping people build their self-confidence.