The Western Union Karate tournament is held twice a year at Weston Super mare in Somerset. It is a long a tiring journey from Sunderland but despite this Dokan have taken some huge squads down to enter in years gone by. The last two year however it has been impossible to muster the support. Personally I particularly like south west England and this competition. Bearing this in mind and the fact my daughter Eleisha is leaving school this year and will struggle to attend over night tournaments next year I came up with a plan.


To cut the journey time on Friday I took Eleisha /  Eve Palmer and another girl to the small North Yorkshire village of Markington where we spent the night in our caravan. Prior to settling down for the evening we visited the very scenic and picturesque Brimham rocks for a long walk and an explore.

On arrival at Somerset the girls set off for the sites indoor swimming pool while me and Ali set the caravan up, it was 24 degrees and baking hot. After the pool a quick shower and we set off for Brean Leisure park and its fairground. The adults (me, Ali plus Angela and John Snaith) walked round the market and popped back to watch the girls on some rides. I reckon everyone was tiring of the rides anyway when someone decided to vomit on herself and put an abrupt end to any more rides.(back for another shower) while I hand washed the clothes.

Teatime at the van followed by an hour at the club, which has evening entertainment, the four Dokan girls seem to have little interest in live entertainment but they certainly like the bingo which has huge £500 jackpot prizes. We finished the evening with board games back at the van, which was all the three girls favourite thing about the holiday.



Sunday morning and we arrive very early, the centre was baking hot by 9.30am and our girls had to keep changing from kata to kumite to kata gi as the order of events was rather strange. Added to this our girls made the final of virtually every section they entered so by 3.00pm they were tired and very sweaty. The form of the girls was outstanding and it was one of those days where you are so proud of your students all the bad things surrounding the running of karate clubs fades into insignificance. EMMA SNAITH Won gold in both kata and Kumite and a silver in pairs kata. Plus she was quite prepared to step in as a third team member for the 13 to 15 girls kumite team if needed so she got the gold there too. It was Emma’s fighting that impressed me the most today, as she wn through five rounds. EVE PALMER, romped the individual kata section never dropping one flag, She also got gold in kata team and kumite team as well as a silver  in her kumite final. Eve lost only that one fight and surprised me and herself with some terrific kumite bouts. ELEISHA MITCHINSON turning 16 only 3 days before the comp and moving into the 16 to 17 years age group I did not expect to much but Eleisha like the other Dokan girls was on incredible form, silver in kata with a split decision, gold in team kata and gold in kumite with some fantastic fighting. All in all the four girls between themselves won 11 gold medals and 5 silver medals. What an achievement and the compliments I received on the day about how world class my girls are and how they are a cut above etc etc were lovely to hear. I have never felt prouder. We stopped for a pint in the sun en route home and a ten minute relax before going to shower. Prior to tea we visited a quaint little church and went for a promenade stroll combined with an ice cream and a bit amusement fun. Back for the club bingo where we lost again and home to the van for some board games.


Monday 24 degrees at 8.30am and I DID NOT feel like driving home. Hence a quick phone call to Twycross zoo and we arranged a mid way stop over. The zoo was rammed and also very accommodating towards helping me park my caravan and we pulled up right at the front doors like caravan royalty. The zoo was rammed but still enjoyable enough, I have visited better zoos but I did like the the hands on approach of feeding animals and unfenced enclosures with Lemurs etc. We left the zoo around 4.30 with 27 degrees showing on my phone, mad hot. Two mile from the zoo was a Macdonalds overlooking farmland not far from the motorway, we pulled in a lay by and walked to Macdonalds where we ate our food under the silver birch trees with the sun blazing down. It was the most enjoyable Macdonalds I have ever had. 20 seconds into the car ride back Eve and Eleisha were sleeping, and all three slept 2 hours which is the best way to travel. When the girls woke they played revision tests for their upcoming exams until we got home. Ali could not understand how they could be laughing and having fun doing revision. I could not understand the questions.


I really do hope we can sort a large squad for next year and perhaps stay in caravans instead of hotels. I know this weekend was a bundle of laughs for the girls and will of created some good lifetime memories.