A FITZWILLIAM fighter has been recognised for his outstanding contribution to martial arts.
Eddie Facey, of Newhall Crescent, was awarded a seventh dan black belt in karate after dedicating 47 years of his life to practising and teaching the discipline.
Five first class instructors from Japan, China, Korea, Thailand and the United Kingdom had to confirm his abilities and dedication before he could receive the prestigious award.
Mr Facey, 64, was introduced to karate by his brother-in-law almost fifty years ago and enjoyed it so much he decided to set up his own martial arts school in Hemsworth, based at the Old Trades Labour Club, on Barnsley Road.
He has taught more than 1,000 children over the years in various schools and clubs around the area.
Mr Facey said: “I was absolutely amazed to receive this award, it really was fantastic and I felt very honoured.”
The highest award a person can receive is the Grand Master title, which is the tenth dan.
Mr Facey was presented with a certificate and the dan to add to his belt on Sunday, January 2, at the E.T Martial Arts Academy of the Seven Golden Dragons, in Moorthorpe.
He was nominated for the accolade 12 months ago by fellow martial art instructor, Eamon Timmons, who runs the academy.
He said Mr Facey was an inspiration and had given so much to help teach youngsters the art.
Mr Timmons said: “It is a lifetime achievement and is a very rare award. I am so pleased for him. It was a very emotional day and everyone was in tears.”
Mr Facey added: “It was such a lovely surprise, and I am so happy with this award so I don’t think I will be aiming for the eight dan.
“It keeps me physically and emotionally fit, and I just love everything about it, which is why I have stuck at it for all of these years.”
He added that he would continue to practise the martial art.