29 Nov 2017
A Newcastle bus inspector was able to stand on the doorstep of one of the most famous locations in the UK when he was invited to the Prime Minister’s office in recognition of his involvement in community sport.
Ian Mills, a revenue and audit supervisor at Stagecoach North East was invited to 10 Downing Street in his role as the Vice Chairman of the British Busen Judo Association (BBJA).
With nine clubs around Newcastle, Gateshead and Durham, the members of the BBJA practise traditional Japanese judo and Ian has volunteered for the organisation for the past nine years.
The 39-year-old from Walkergate, who has been employed at Stagecoach North East’s Walkergate depot for 18 years, has been heavily involved in martial arts and is a 1st Dan black belt in Judo.
Ian said: “Alongside Chairman Steve Makin, we were invited for a visit and photo shoot because of the work we and all the other staff do teaching Judo to children and adults throughout the northeast.
“The BBJA was set up in 2001 by Steve Makin BCA 9th Dan, who recently received a British Citizen Award at the Palace of Westminster for his contribution to education in teaching traditional Japanese judo to both juniors and seniors.
“In 1977 Steve was photographed outside number 10 and we wanted to recreate that picture to show our students what can be achieved through hard work and dedication, so I wrote to 10 Downing Street and informed them of what Steve had achieved and what our organisation does. I then received a phone call from Downing Street’s correspondence officer inviting us down to do a photo shoot.
After the tight security check, the group were met by a very friendly police officer who explained that because 10 Downing St is a working office and there was meetings planned all that day unfortunately they could not go inside the building, but they were allowed to take photos.
During the visit, the children said: “What a fantastic day! It was great going to Downing Street and it’s a place I never thought I would get to visit and get our pictures taken.”