December 21 2014 Latest news:
Saturday, July 26, 2014
It’s put us on the map! Delighted villagers raised a toast to judo ace and fellow villager Colin Oates who struck gold at the Commonwealth Games.
The 31-year-old martial arts expert, from North Lopham, erased the disappointment of finishing seventh at London 2012, as he secured four confident wins in Glasgow.
His family, including parents Denise and Howard, live in King’s Head Lane in the village and run a judo club, while sister Vicky works at the King’s Head pub.
Julie Crossley, clerk of North Lopham Parish Council, said: “I think he is a great role model for youngsters. They can see what can be achieved through hard work.
“We are really pleased he has done so well.”
Parish councillor Lesley Bird added: “We are all very proud of him. It is a great achievement. It has put North Lopham on the map.”
Village postmaster Robert Carley said: “It is brillant.”
Resident Mark Sneath said his stepdaughter Chelsea Duncan, 13, used to attend judo classes run by the Oates family in the village.
He added: “I heard North Lopham mentioned on local radio and I thought I had never heard the village mentioned before.
“His success is especially great in a sport like judo because it is a really tough sport, like all martial arts, and you have to be very dedicated.”
George and Angie Estcourt, publicans at the King’s Head, know Mr Oates well.
Following London 2012, they held a barbecue at the pub to welcome him home and said they were hoping to hold another to celebrate his Commonwealth success, though this may depend on his busy schedule with the judo World Championships set to take place next month in Russia.
Mrs Estcourt said: “He is a really nice, really friendly kind of guy. He is a very down-to-earth person who helps his dad with running the judo club. He is just a young family man.”
She said there was a lot of interest in how he was doing even among people from outside the village.
She added: “I just think it is absolutely amazing because when you watch the Olympics or Commonwealth Games you never those who are competing, so it is a real privilege to know one of the athletes.