A JUDO coach who is battling cancer has helped two pensioners become red belts.

Barry Hughes, 70, who runs the free Activ8 gym in Bradley near Gwersyllt, has helped Ken Fleet, 72, and John Ashley Roberts, 80, get their first grades in the martial art.

And Mr Hughes has helped guide his older proteges while undergoing treatment for prostrate cancer.

Both Mr Fleet and Mr Roberts, who had never previously stepped foot in a gym until their retirement, have credited Mr Hughes with giving them a new lease of life.

Video and images by Craig Colville

They were assessed for their first ever grading by Darren Dean, the former Great Britain Junior and Senior international judoka who was the Welsh Judo Team Manager at the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games.

Mr Hughes, a Second Dan who has been a judo coach for 40 years and was a social worker before opening the gym 20 years ago, located next door to Ysgol Bro Alun, says it helps give everyone a purpose.

He said: "I'm battling cancer but coming here is my way of dealing with it.

"Whenever I've had treatment and am not feeling well, or have had enough, I am convinced to come here and it keeps you going.

"Anyone can come here, from pensioners to kids in the youth justice service. All they need is help and to be part of something and we do that here."

He added: "Ken came to the gym because he had never been to a gym before and he just wanted something to pass the time, something to help.

"He said to me, 'I'd like to do what you've done with judo but I can't because I'm too old.'

"I told him there's no reason he couldn't do it, and I got John involved because he has been volunteering here for four years and said he'd like to a have a go.

"They both did brilliantly in their first grading."

Mr Fleet, 72, from Gwersyllt said: "Everyone is welcome here.

"I'd been working in a factory but had never been to a gym in my life.

"I went past here one day and saw the door open and was invited in. I was looking for something to do.

"I'm really enjoying it, especially the chance to throw Barry onto the mat, but it has given me a new lease of life and I want to go as far as I can with it.

Mr Roberts, from Cheshire View, Brymbo said: "I enjoy coming to the gym. The first time I ever went was four years ago but it wasn't until recently that Barry suggested I give judo a go.

"The only thing I had done previously was a parachute jump.

"I was over the moon to get the red-belt grading. Darren was genuinely very impressed with what we could do.

"My favourite move is the Kesa-getame hold.

"I enjoy the sport and what we're doing proves it doesn't matter what age you are. I'm planning to carry it on as long as I can."