Judo champs tested to the limit in Stevenage school’s fundraising throw down

Harrison Denman who has Haemoplaegia, a form of cerebral palsey, takes part in a Judo demonstration

Harrison Denman who has Haemoplaegia, a form of cerebral palsey, takes part in a Judo demonstration with Stevenage Judo Club's Andrew Murray - Credit: Archant

A trio of Judo champs spent an exhausting day being thrown to the ground as they took on the biggest primary school in Stevenage in a marathon charity fundraiser.

Harrison Denman who has Haemoplaegia, a form of cerebral palsey, takes part in a Judo demonstration

Harrison Denman who has Haemoplaegia, a form of cerebral palsey, takes part in a Judo demonstration with Stevenage Judo Club's Andrew Murray - Credit: Archant

Andrew Murray, who is well known in the martial arts world locally and runs the Stevenage Judo Club, lives next door to Martins Wood Primary School pupil Harrison Denman – who has a rare form of cerebral palsey called hemiplegia.

The Judo loving dad – who has two sons of his own at the school – hit upon the idea of going along to Martins Wood armed with two of his fellow coaches to do a sponsored Judo throw with 500 pupils.

The children found sponsorship to take part and the school has now raised around £350 for HemiHelp – a charity which conducts research into Hemiplegia.

Headteacher Tom Evans said: “It was great, the children thoroughly enjoyed it and there was a great atmosphere in the hall.

Harrison Denman who has Haemoplaegia, a form of cerebral palsey, takes part in a Judo demonstration

Harrison Denman who has Haemoplaegia, a form of cerebral palsey, takes part in a Judo demonstration with Stevenage Judo Club's Andrew Murray - Credit: Archant

“Andrew and his friends must have been absolutely exhausted.

“They showed great humour and the children thought it was great fun to throw a grown man to the floor – although of course they were acting up – making a loud noise and slamming to the floor.”

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He added: “It was a way of promoting a sport which we wouldn’t normally offer in school and we know Harrison’s family have had a lot of support from the charity – we’re more than happy to do our bit.

“We’ve helped Harrison’s mum to raise awareness of the work of the charity and we’ve made sure other children are aware that he has that difficulty.”

Stevenage Judo Club instructors Mike Oliver, Andrew Murray and Herveline Cremmer with Harrison

Stevenage Judo Club instructors Mike Oliver, Andrew Murray and Herveline Cremmer with Harrison - Credit: Archant

Five-year-old Harrison’s condition means the muscles haven’t developed as well one side of his body compared to the other. It is the result of a stroke he suffered whilst in the womb.

He wears a lycra glove and foot splint to support the weaker side and has regular physio and medical treatments to help strengthen his muscles.

For more information about the charity and to make a donation, visit www.hemihelp.org.uk.

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