SPORTS AWARDS: Mick puts it all down to Bruce Lee

Mick Stainsby.

Mick Stainsby.

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HE was the young man who had no confidence at all – until he followed in the footsteps of his beloved Bruce Lee.

Hartlepool man Mick Stainsby was a painfully shy 21-year-old who went red in the face whenever anyone spoke to him.

To turn his life around, he began karate classes at the Westbourne Methodist Church in Hartlepool in 1981 – all inspired by the man whose posters filled his wall.

Mick said: “I was really into Bruce Lee at the time. I had his posters everywhere.

“I had no confidence at all and I only went to the classes when a group of friends came with me. I was always the quiet one who went red when people talked to me.”

“I took to it straight away and it took over my life.”

Mick, now 52, soon moved through the ranks and was a coach y the time he reached blue belt.

He ha snow been with the Hartlepool Kihon-Do Karate Club for more than 35 years, including 25 years as a black belt instructor. He is now a 5th Dan sensei in Wadokai.

He also holds karate lessons at both Manor School and the Mill House Sports Centre - and now he’s in the running for a Hartlepool Mail Sports Award.

His nomination came from Hartlepool man Eric Milburn who said: “A number of Mick’s students have gone on to gain their own black belts.

“Some have also represented England at international competitions, winning European titles on the way.”

He said Mick had given “a lifetime of dedication and hard work to teaching his students, often unselfishly and without any praise or recognition.”

Mick is married to Jane, 49, and they are both karate coaches for Hartlepool Borough Council where Mick also works as a leisure attendant and Jane as a cleaner.

They have five daughters between them and Mick is also a grandfather-of-nine.

He said he was “flattered” to be nominated for an award and added: “I have never done this for the recognition. For me, it is all about the kids and teaching them, and then watching them do really well.”

There is still a month left for people to enter their favourites.

To nominate a person or group, fill in the form {http://nepress.co.uk/hmjj/sports-awards/|HERE).