LOWER Darwen’s Taekwondo star Matthew Ryley has become the youngest member of a Lancashire club to gain a black belt in the sport.
The 10-year-old, who trains at the Rawtenstall and Helmshore based club twice a week, started his training in Blackburn five years ago.
Matthew’s dad Terry is delighted to see all his hard work pay off.
He said: “Matthew’s mum Kathy and I are very proud of what he has achieved.
“He has worked very hard and remained focused to gain his black belt.”
Matthew’s instructor, Claire Sharples, is the current European champion.
As a second Dan black belt she has also achieved world and British titles and is a current member of the TAGB England team.
She said: “Matthew has done so well in gaining this achievement.
“He has worked hard at my club for three years.”
The youngster, who has travelled across the North West to attend various training courses, also took part in the association’s academy in Bristol with around 800 other students.
“Although he was one of the youngest – and smallest – competing he held his own and did extremely well in all areas of the grading, from the theory questions to line work and sparring,” said Sharples.
“I couldn’t be more pleased with what he has achieved. Matthew is a real credit to Bury TAGB. “It just shows what can be achieved when you put a lot of time and effort into something important no matter what your age.”