[Georgia Porter | Contributing Writer]
Mid October, Herts Judo Club held a fundraising event to raise money for a charity campaign that Coach Doug Seabrook set up, following an inspirational trip to Albania in September. Here we interview Matthew Hammond, Chairman of the Judo Club, to find out more.
1. What is your role within Judo at the University of Hertfordshire?
Matthew Hammond, 22, Final Year BSc (Hons) Sports Studies: I am this year’s chairman of the Judo Club. I love the role and I am very passionate and determined to ensure that the Club is left in a better state than I found it in.
2. What charity was the event fundraising for?
Matt: Whilst on our judo trip to Albania alongside Marshalswick Judo Club in September, we visited a man called Anton Shkoza. He is the man who initiated judo in Albania. Whilst training for the Olympic Games, Anton suffered a life changing injury which left him paralysed. Despite this, Anton still runs his judo academy, which encourages children off of the streets and promotes the sport of judo in Albania. Myself, my judo coach, Doug Seabrook, and the rest of the Club found this inspirational. After the trip, Doug set up a charity campaign to raise funds to provide Anton with a new mobility chair, bed and developments for his club.
3. What kind of event was organised?
Matt: The event was a sponsored throwing challenge. We were required to complete 1,000 throws (throwing each other onto crash mats) in 30 minutes. This seemed very hard to do but with the enthusiasm and determination that powered us, we smashed it! We completed 1,000 throws in just 18 minutes 59 seconds. We also had a raffle going on to raise money. I won a nice bottle of rosé. Not bad ey?!
4. Where did the event take place?
Matt: The event occurred at Marshalswick Judo Club in St Albans. Marshalswick Judo Club is like the second home of the University of Hertfordshire Judo Club. Doug is also the head coach there so we get the opportunity for some extra training.
5. How many people attended?
Matt: I didn’t do an exact headcount but there was 18 Judo players all together, (a mix of UH Judo and Marshalswick Judo members.) There was also a small audience that came along to show their support.
6. How much money was raised and went to the charity?
Matt: So far we have raised over £1,600, which the whole Club is really pleased with. If you would like to donate to the fundraiser the link is as follows: crowdfunding.justgiving.com/d-seabrook
7. Who was involved in organising the event? Anyone specifically that should be mentioned?
Matt: None of this would have been possible without Doug Seabrook, his wife Wendy, negotiations with Albania from Saimir Haxhiu and everyone who attended the Albania trip and volunteered their services at the charity event. I’d really like to thank these people very much for making this happen, they are all heroes!
8. Are there anymore fundraising events planned in the near future?
Matt: We have not got any further plans yet but we intend to. It awaits further planning and negotiation. I’d love to organise another fundraiser possibly on the University grounds this time.
9. Was the fundraising event a success?
Matt: I certainly enjoyed the fundraising event. It was for a good cause, it was challenging and we smashed the task. My only criticism on the evening is that I would have liked to carry on for the full 30 minutes, seeing how many throws we could have achieved in that time limit. But overall, it was really great. I’m really glad and proud that UH Judo is involved in this whole campaign.
The Judo Club is popular in with students this year. If you are interested in joining, check out their social media pages: Facebook.com/UHAUJudo and Twitter: @UHJudo. Training is every Monday 4pm till 6pm for all abilities, and higher grade session are every Friday 8am till 9am. See you there!
Images: Martin Square