Allez Caron! Thornbury fencer in training for world championships
VETERAN fencer Caron Hale is preparing for the 2018 world championships with help from Thornbury Lifestyle Centre.
The Thornbury sportswoman, 58, said she would not have progressed so far in fencing without the support of the team at her local leisure complex.
She has been fencing competitively all over the world for the past 18 years and it was when she was selected for the world championships four years ago that she first started using the centre for training.
Its managers knew how expensive it was for Caron to compete, due to her receiving no funding or sponsorship, so they waived her membership fee in return for her encouraging more people into the sport.
The complex - now known as Thornbury Lifestyle Centre - currently hosts three fencing courses in its Severnside Sports Hall, which are taught across a range of ages and abilities on Saturday mornings.
Caron, who works as an administrator for the learning disability charity the Brandon Trust, said: “Without the use of the centre’s facilities, I wouldn’t have been able to devote as much time and energy to training as I would have liked, and my competition results would have suffered.
“I really can’t thank those at the Thornbury Lifestyle Centre enough – they’ve been absolutely brilliant.
“They allowed my membership to continue when I was out of action for a shoulder injury and had to give up fencing for a few months. The staff are always genuinely interested in my competition results and frequently ask to see my medals.”
Caron’s recent medal haul includes silver at the Veteran Commonwealth Championships in New Zealand and bronze at the European Championships in Italy.
She is now in training for the 2018 World Championships - to be held in Italy in October - and the Veteran Four Nations event in Glasgow in April.
With the help of her coaches Joe Pearce and Andy Martin, there are also hopes that Caron will be selected for the team event at next year’s European Championships in the Netherlands.
Caron said: “I hope my story encourages other people to get out there and take up a sport. I don’t think you can ever be too old to get into sport – even fencing.
“Sport helps to keep you young both physically and mentally and I know a few fencers who are competing well into their 80s.
“The taster sessions and beginners’ courses that most clubs offer don’t have an age barrier, so I’d definitely recommend people to go along and give it a try.”
Carole Weeks, customer service manager at Thornbury Lifestyle Centre said: “It’s been a pleasure to support Caron as she pursues her fencing ambitions around the world. It’s fantastic to see the journey that she’s been on since starting her training with us.
“We wish Caron all the best with her upcoming competitions.”