A FORMER world champion kickboxer has spoken of his pride at training three generations of females from the same family.

Janet Thompson, 63, Sarah Thompson 35, and five-year-old Layla Goodburn, who all live in Stanley, train at North-East Kickboxing Academy in Burnopfield.

The grandmother, daughter and granddaughter are coached by Wes Fagan, an ex-world title holder, and have recently sat their grading.

Mr Fagan said he was ‘blown away’ by the dedication of all three have showed.

He said: “It’s very rare you get three generations all training together in the same hobby.

“They move, punch and kick in a very similar way and you can see each of them in each other.

“It’s fantastic to watch them in the club.”

Layla has just took her grade for yellow belt, which is her first stage, and her mother, Sarah Thompson, who works with Mr Fagan at Elddis in Delves Lane, near Consett, as a caravan and motorhome interior designer, is now a blue belt.

Mrs Thompson (Senior) is most experienced and has just won her brown belt, which took over three hours and included sparring in the ring.

The retired driving instructor, who has been attending the club for four years, said: “I was going to a fitness class and there was a little bit of boxing in there.

“One of them had a bit of martial arts in it and I really enjoyed it, but those classes ended.

“I knew about what Wes was doing and I had always wanted to have a go at kickboxing but I thought they would just laugh at me if I turned up.”

Mrs Thompson said she enjoys seeing the work Mr Fagan does with the youngsters, some of whom have gone on to win national, European and world title belts themselves.

She also enjoys mixing with the other kickboxing students.

Mrs Thompson said: “My daughter asked if it would be okay if we tried it out with a friend and he said ‘yes’.

“So we went along and we have been going ever since. That was four years ago.

“I enjoy the fitness side of it and there is so much to learn.

“It always challenging.

“There is the social side of it as well and it is fun attending the sessions in the gym with everyone else.

“There is a nice atmosphere and they set you goals that you have to achieve. It is marvellous all round.

“It is something we can all enjoy as a family.”

Mrs Thompson recently won a bronze medal at a tournament in South Shields.

Mr Fagan said she ‘fought her heart out’.

He said: “Even at 63 she trains alongside and spas with all of NEKA Champions.

“Age is something that we can’t get away from in the fight game but Janet, to me, is just one of the fighters at the club she trains as hard as my champions if not harder.

“She never misses training. Her daughter, Sarah, didn’t like the idea of her fighting in the ring but I reassured her that she would be fine as she would be prepared.

“Janet is so dedicated and strong for her age. She really is super human.”

Mrs Thompson is now just three steps away from achieving her black belt.

Mr Fagan said: “I’ve never seen anything like it she is a credit to her family and our club NEKA.

“There was a little bit pressure, obviously, as I’m putting a grandma in the ring at the end of the day, but she puts the time in and is so determined.

“I just wished our paths crossed 25-30 years ago because she would no doubt be a world champion kickboxer.”