About Us

Royal Tunbridge Wells Fencing Club is a popular, friendly club for (almost) all ages. Founded by Jerry Raj and fencing legend Professor Steven Paul in 2005, RTWFC is now based in The Grammar School for Boys’ brand new Sports Centre on St John’s Road (access is via the Tunbridge Wells Sports Centre car park). We offer epee classes on Mondays, Thursdays and Sundays to everybody from beginners aged 6 and above to experienced fencers. The club has produced many champions and medallists at county and regional level, and was the proving ground for Piero Steiner, Amelia Dudley and James Russell – who have all gone on to excel at national age-group competitions. Besides group sessions, coaches Paul Beasley and Don Coe offer individual lessons for those fencers who want to accelerate their development.

Who’s Who

The coaches

Paul Beasley – Head Coach
A Level 3 Epee coach, Paul worked alongside Professor Steven Paul at the club since 2013. From 2016, Paul has been leading our weekday training sessions alongside fellow coach Don Coe, and now heads up the increasingly popular Sunday morning club session. The former editor of Fighting Fit magazine and now a full-time epee fencing coach, Paul also contributed to Prof’s seminal Epee Fencing bookazine.

Don Coe – Assistant Coach
Indefatiguable octogenerian Don helps out with the coaching on Mondays, Thursdays and sometimes Sundays too, as well as providing invaluable armoury services for the club.

The committee

Martin Briggs – Chairman
Relatively new to fencing but an experienced hand on various committees, Martin is the last of his family members to pick up an epee – the ‘tense theatre’ of Martin fencing Lindsey, his better half, is a most entertaining spectacle.

Val Cramb – Welfare Officer
Former international fencer Val has been our Welfare Officer since May 2019. She also regularly refs matches at the Sunday club and at TWIST events – sadly, though, we haven’t managed to persuade this former British champion to step over the sidelines back onto the piste…

Maria Machado – Treasurer
A pocket rocket on the piste, Maria has been an ace Treasurer – her ability to figure out six rounds of matches under Swiss Chess rules at the SPITFIRE team competition also impressed us all. Sadly, though, she’s leaving us soon…

Amy Perry – Secretary; Deputy Welfare Officer
A Masters student whilst still working full time, Amy – whose footwork is as neat as a new pin – decided that she still wasn’t busy enough and agreed to be club secretary as well.

Simon Gnana-Pragasam – Covid Officer
Appropriately for someone who works in the motorsport industry, Simon’s engine whilst on the piste is extremely reliable. We can now rest easily in the knowledge that our Covid protocols are being overseen by someone with an engineer’s eye for detail.

The legends

Steve Paul – Founding Coach
Professor Steven Paul (1954-2019) was a three-time Olympian, three-time National Champion and three-time Australian Champion – a fencing legend! We were lucky to have been able to attract him to the RTWFC as head coach, and we appreciated the exacting standards and inspirational leadership that he brought to the club.

Jerry Raj – Founding President
Jerry moved to Tunbridge Wells in 2002 and came with a desire to encourage quality epee fencing in the local area. Jerry, Lucy and his friend Steven Paul hatched a plan to start an epee club in Tunbridge Wells. Jerry is still active on the competitive fencing scene but claims that he peaked in 1983. Jerry was the 2007/08 National Veteran’s association Men’s Epee champion (category 1).