About Us

Royal Tunbridge Wells Fencing Club was founded by Jerry Raj and fencing legend Professor Steven Paul in 2005. A three-time Olympian, Prof’s epee coaching was both exacting and entertaining. When Steve sadly passed away in 2019 and Jerry subsequently stepped down as Chairman, Paul Beasley took over as Head Coach and a new committee took the helm. Read on to find out more.

Who’s Who

The coaches

Paul Beasley – Head Coach
A Level 3 Epee coach, Paul was lucky enough to be mentored by Professor Steven Paul. Since 2016, Paul has been leading our weekday training sessions alongside fellow coach Don Coe, and also 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 (click here to read more).

Don Coe – Assistant Coach
Indefatigable nonagenarian Don helps out with the coaching on Mondays and Thursdays, as well as providing invaluable armoury services for the club.

James Fleming-Fido – Assistant Coach
Experienced fencer James is a level 2 coach who assists at the club on Mondays and Sundays, which gives him two chances a week to pass on his sneaky skills to our youngest fencers.

William Briggs – Assistant Coach
Ace stop-hitter and all-round wrist-botherer, William recently passed his level 2 coaching course. A good technician and calm communicator, William coaches at all three of the club’s weekly sessions.

Gerry Lavin – Assistant Coach
As energetic on the piste as he is friendly and enthusiastic off it, Gerry is helping our under-14 fencers on Thursday sharpen up and, well, be ‘more Gerry’!

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 cross the sidelines and get 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 for us, though, she’s moved to Cumbria!

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! RTWFC was lucky to have been able to attract him as head coach, and we appreciated the exacting standards and inspirational leadership that he brought to the club. To read Prof’s obituary, click here.

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).