Award for spreading karate message
OUR new Europlas loveLIFE champion is karate girl Helen Cox, who has spent 2012 selflessly encouraging new people to get fit.
Helen is the voluntary secretary at Paignton's Torbay Karate Club.
Chief instructor Sensei Ray Alsop (fifth Dan) said: "We would like to nominate Helen Cox for a Europlas loveLIFE Champion award for outstanding efforts in spreading the word about Shotokan Karate as a means to develop a healthy mind and body, and to encourage new participants to take their first step into this activity."
As part of the Herald Express loveLIFE campaign, anybody who wants to try karate is offered free lessons at Torbay Karate Club in Paignton's St Andrew's Church hall on Mondays, Wednesdays or Fridays at 7pm.
Sensei Alsop said the club's saying is from the ancient philosopher Lao Tsu: "A journey of a thousand miles starts with the first step."
He said: "Karate is such a journey and Helen's efforts have helped many students take theirs so that Torbay Karate Club's top quality black belt instructors can help them continue with the enjoyable challenge of taking thousands of steps towards becoming a master of karate and loveLIFE champions in their own right.
"Such positive and selfless contribution and dedication to helping others improve their lives through karate deserves recognition."
He said Helen had devoted herself 'with extraordinary gusto' to promoting awareness and encouraging new participants — all in her spare time on a voluntary basis over and above her all-consuming full-time day job'.
Helen, from Harbertonford, runs a company which designs individual wildlife holidays and says her karate has given her confidence in her work as well as fitness.
"Karate makes you fitter, stronger and more confident," she said. "I have travelled a lot on my own and I know situations have been avoided because of the confidence I honestly think comes from my martial arts background."
Among other tasks, Helen has written and uploaded an extensive website for Torbay Karate Club (including video clips of the chief instructor which she filmed). She also organised a free introductory course for Churston Ferrers Grammar School students.
Helen said: "We retained everybody. It was amazing.
"Everybody was given vouchers for free membership and a couple of free lessons at the club."
She has secured Sportivate scheme support through Active Devon for another course at South Devon College beginning in February.
Her new year plan is to re-instate the KUGB South-West Championship competitions in 2013.
Sensie Alsop said: "Her enthusiasm is infectious and her energy is spreading like a tangible force throughout the region and there is no doubt it is set to continue."
Jim Short, general manager at Europlas of Newton Abbot, one of the main sponsors of the loveLIFE campaign and the champion award, will present Helen with her Europlas loveLIFE Champion's certificate.