The Team

 

The Coaches

 

Gareth Mapp - Level 3 Head Coach

Gareth is a 5th Dan Black Belt and Level 3 Coach.

He has been involved in judo for over 50 years and first qualified as a Level 2 Coach at the age of 18. Gareth competed at National and International level but his own competitive judo ended at a young age. He then decided he wanted to coach people to enable them to have fun, make lifelong friends and achieve the success of being the best they can possibly be.

As a volunteer throughout, Gareth has coached novices to black belts of all ages and abilities. He also supported the Great Britain Teams in sports science and technical analysis roles at European and World Championships, leading up to the Sydney Olympic Games. Gareth has coached at International tournaments around the world, supporting players to become British, European, World Tour, Commonwealth Games champions and medallists as well as personal coach to Wrekin Star Judo Club's London 2012 Olympian / 2014 Commonwealth Games Silver medallist, Kelly Edwards (MacDonald).

Dave Thomas - Level 3 Club Coach

Dave is a competitive 2nd Dan black belt and Level 3 Coach.

He has been involved in judo for over 40 years and first qualified as a Level 2 Coach in 1999.

Dave joined Shrewsbury Judo Club while he was at Primary school, later moving to Ford Judo Club. During this time Dave moved up the grades and competed in many competitions at local, national and international level. 

Shortly after amalgamating Wrekin Star Judo Club, Dave went to study at Bangor University where he joined the university judo club, assisting with coaching and making lifelong friends at the club.

Dave's passion for judo led to participation in other martial arts where he learnt more about the origins of judo and also gained dan grades.

Dave's judo coaching experience led him to pursue a career in teaching, which in return benefited his coaching. His interest in learning means he's continually evolving his coaching to provide fun and challenging sessions.

 

 

 

 

Pete Crump - Level 2 Club Coach

Pete is a 1st Dan black belt and Level 2 Club Coach. 

He started judo at the relatively late age of 16 as he was intrigued by the sport and went straight onto the senior mat. He progressed, becoming a good, competitive judo player, competing in many contests over the years at club, regional and national level. Pete achieved his black belt at the age of 25 but was forced to leave the sport due to injury (not judo related).

Pete returned to judo after 26 years following a visit to Wrekin Star Judo Club to watch his son, who had started training, and met his old friend, Gareth Mapp who, as Head Coach, reignited his interest. At that, Pete was hooked again and back on the mat.

Pete re-established his technical 1st Dan grade in 2015 and moved into coaching, which he thoroughly enjoys, sharing his competitive experience in his coaching sessions.

He has spent the last few years taking any opportunity to learn and develop a technical knowledge and skill set in order to coach from beginner through to Dan grade players. He is also qualified to coach and teach players with disabilities in adaptive judo, covering both physical and mental disabilities.

Alex Fowler - Assistant Coach

Alex is a 1st Dan black belt. He first started judo when he was 8 years old with Head Coach, Gareth. Alex competed in judo until he was 14 when he stopped as he struggled with time because of work and so chose money over judo. He returned to judo in 2015, after a 21 year break, to find Gareth was still coaching, and has not missed a session since. Alex says judo runs in his veins and is a huge part of his life. He has been on the coaching team since 2018 and loves getting involved helping the juniors become more competitive on their judo journey.

Lou Gardner-Thomas - Assistant Coach

Lou is a 1st Dan black belt who qualified as a Level 2 Coach in 1999. 

After seeing her brother on the mat, Lou found an outlet for her competitive spirit and joined Sankey's Judo Club in 1980 where she also met Head Coach, Gareth, and have been friends ever since. 

Lou had just started secondary school, was shy and bullied by her peers. She soon started competing and rising through the grades, growing in both strength and confidence and making new friends at the club. As her confidence grew, the bullies stopped.

Lou and her brother moved to Oakengates Judo Club and were supported by their family with mum becoming Club Treasurer, dad Club Chairman and later Chairman of the Shropshire Judo Federation. 

Lou competed in local, regional and national competitions and was Shropshire County Champion numerous times. At a time when there were many judo events locally, Lou was chosen to throw Olympic medallist and multiple television Superstars Champion, Brain Jacks, to advertise Wrekin School of Judo for the local paper. 

From her teenage years, Lou helped Gareth coaching from time to time at previous clubs and also coached summer school judo sessions.

Returning after an absence following a car accident, Lou resumed competition, finally gaining her competitive 1st Dan black belt and becoming a national silver medalist. She was then invited to join the Midland Area Squad but sadly had to decline due to other commitments.  

Lou's love of competition and training always inspired her to share her knowledge with others. With the support of Gareth and Dave, this was formalised in 1999 when she and Dave both qualified as Level 2 Club Coaches. Together with fellow coach, Richard, they amalgamated Wrekin Star Judo Club with John Goodwin's club the same year. The rest, as they say, is history.

Lou has recently returned to coaching and will be revalidating her coaching award imminently. Part of her passion is making judo accessible for all, particularly girls and women.

Rebecca Gill - Assistant Coach

In 1982 after being on the waiting list for two years, Rebecca was fortunate enough to join GKN Judo Club. It didn’t take long before the sport became a family affair, her dad coached, sister also on the mat and mum on the committee. Every other weekend was a competition or grading. She had the opportunity to represent Telford & Wrekin and Shropshire many times, competed all over the country, trained with the Navy and had opportunities to meet amazing judokas like Densign White, Elvis Gordon & Neil Adams.

Rebecca's greatest achievement was being awarded best Girl's Stylist in the county as at that time girls' judo in the area was at a pretty high level.

Rebecca converted to a senior brown belt at 15 after competing at the Navy camp in Plymouth and then began helping with the younger juniors at her club.

Fast forward some years, she took a step back from judo to raise her children but came back when her younger children were old enough to join. Many of the old clubs by then had closed, including the club she originated from, but WSJC was run by some coaches she'd known for many years and was still going.

After being persuaded to step back on the mat she is now able to again help with the juniors , is the Club Secretary and also the Secretary of the Midland Area Committee.

Rebecca has been involved in this wonderful sport for over half of her life and hopefully will be involved for many years to come.

Tim Westlake - Assistant Coach

With over 30 years of experience, Tim started Judo at the age of 8 under the instruction of Bob Sutton at the Hafren Judo Club. Tim continued judo through high school competing in local competitions and gradings.

At 18, Tim studied Computer Science at the University of Wales, Aberystwyth. At University Tim’s love for Judo continued. In the third year he became the Vice Chairman of the University Judo Club.

Tim later spent many years training at the Alan Jones Judo and Wrestling Club based in Welshpool.

In 2017 Tim and his family moved to Telford. The Wrekin Star Judo Club welcomed him to the club where he has been ever since.

Tim still actively competes, attending gradings and competitions and is currently studying towards his second Dan black belt and level one coaching award.

Dan Mulvey - Assistant Coach

Bio coming soon  . . . watch this space!

The Officials

Mandy Crump - Safeguarding and Welfare Officer

Mandy first got involved with Wrekin Star Judo Club when she started taking her son to the junior sessions and was impressed by the family friendly nature of the club.

Gradually she got more and more involved by helping out on the desk then in 2015 was asked if she would consider becoming the Club Welfare Officer (CWO) and has been in the role ever since. As, with all of the coaches, Mandy holds an enhanced DBS and has completed all of the relevant training courses required by the BJA to enable her to perform the role to the best of her ability.

As the Club Welfare Officer, Mandy assists the club to make sure that we provide a safe and positive environment for all to learn judo and develop an ongoing love for the sport. You will often find her behind the desk on at least one of the weekly sessions, welcoming both the established and new members to the club, ensuring she knows them all by name and being the first point of contact to help with any queries, as well as making the odd cup of tea as and when required and just generally getting stuck in with whatever is needed to ensure everyone has a great time.

Claire Moss - Safeguarding Officer

Claire became involved with Wrekin Star Judo Club initially when her daughter, who has a learning disability, joined the club in 2018. Claire was asked to join the committee, and felt that a Safeguarding role was an interesting and vital position which she could commit to and has been supporting the club and its members in this capacity ever since. Claire is usually on duty during a Thursday session.

Reach out for more!

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