Police come to rescue of judo competition which nearly falls foul of the weather

Chief Constable Colette Paul
Chief Constable Colette Paul

A judo competition that nearly fell foul of the weather at the weekend was rescued when Bedfordshire Police offered their HQ as a venue.

The Bedford Grappling Academy’s IBF Open Judo Competition was due to be held at Biddenham International School and Sports College on Sunday but as the school was being used as a potential evacuation centre due to the recent flooding, the event was set to be cancelled at the last moment.

Quick-thinking organisers put a call for help into Bedfordshire Police’s Stephen Sweetlove who, along with being a public order trainer, also happens to be a renowned martial artist who holds a combination of Black Belts in many disciplines.

Stephen was given the thumbs up by Chief Constable Colette Paul and at the last moment the event was shifted from Biddenham to Bedfordshire Police Headquarters in Woburn Road, Kempston, with around 60 children and adults being able to take part in the competition that they had trained so hard for.

Stephen said: “The weather has certainly played havoc across Bedfordshire this weekend so it was great to be able to do something for the local community in helping them to hold this event. I know what it is like training for events and I can imagine the disappointment that those taking part would have experienced if it hadn’t gone ahead.

“Me, the organiser and a host of volunteers from Bedfordshire Police and judo clubs in the town spent Saturday evening preparing the main hall and thanks to everyone’s help and support we were able to hold the event on Sunday morning which turned out to be thoroughly enjoyable with all participants having a great time.”

Chief Constable Paul added: “At a time when so much misery has been caused by the weather it was wonderful to be able to help out an organisation such as Bedford Grappling Academy who do so much positive work with youngsters in our community. I was delighted to hear that the event went well and it certainly sounds like everyone had an enjoyable day.”

Bedford Grappling Academy coach Russell Dodds said: “I really appreciated everything that Bedfordshire Police and Stephen did for us on Sunday.

“I only found out that we could not use the school when I called on Saturday evening hoping to put mats down. To get a new venue and everything set up in time was brilliant and everyone was so grateful that the event could still go ahead.”