During the day, mild mannered David Francis works as a kitchen porter at the University Hospital of North Tees.
But two evenings a week, David swaps pushing trolleys of food for throwing willing volunteers onto mats in his role as one of the region’s judo coaches.
And now David has more reason than ever to celebrate – his son, and lifelong student, Colin, won the silver medal in this month’s International Judo Federation World Masters.
Held in Krakow, Poland, Colin Francis, a Royal Marine Commando who trains near his home in Taunton but also with his dad when on leave, made it through a challenging draw to face Georgian Dimitri Muladze in the final of the under-60KG tournament. The tough final bout saw the Georgian narrowly prevail but David, who has been a porter for 30 years and a judo instructor for more than 40 years, is more than happy with the result.
The 63 year-old from Trimdon, who holds a 5th Dan black belt, said: “I was watching the tournament live on the International Judo Federation website.
“It was a really tough draw and Colin had the most bouts to get to the final – he didn’t get any byes or easy ways through.
“He did his best and that’s what counts. Winning a world silver medal is a great achievement for Colin, his Marine Company and our club. I’m really proud of him.”
Colin’s Peterlee Judo Club trains every Monday and Thursday evening at Peterlee Leisure Centre. To find out more about joining the club, visit the club’s Facebook page or call 01429 882003.
David commented: “Judo is a great sport. It builds confidence, gets the heart pumping and it’s a lot of fun.
“We’re a friendly, inclusive club and happy to have beginners of all ages.”