KARATE: GRAYS-based karate fighter Paul Fordham, 14, has just received his 2nd Dan grading as a black belt at the Phoenix Karate Club which trains at the Basildon sporting village.

His instructor, Cheri Stokes (a 4th dan chief instructor), arranged for a special course, training and grading from 6th dan Pat McCluskey.

Fordham, left, started karate when he was five years old and obtained his black belt when he was eight years old. It mad him one of the youngest Black Belts in the country.

The teenager travels to Phoenix three times a week and has already competed in both Latvia and Italy in European Championships (where he was placed first in Italy - becoming European Champion at just 10 years of age.

Now Fordham is set to go to the world championships in Turin, Italy on October 22. He will compete in both kata and kumite.

Phoenix Karate is a traditional based Shotokan karate group with family friendly classes held seven days a week. Contact Cheri on 01268 511861 or Sharon on 01277 658261 or www.phoenixkarateclub.co.uk