TRIBUTES have been paid to a martial arts club’s longest serving member.

Northwich born and bred sensei Fred Snelson died on November 19, aged 75.

He was a founding member of the Mid Cheshire Budo Club, training under the late David Flaherty since it launched in 1968.

Chris Travis, who now runs the club voluntarily alongside his brother Andrew, has shared his memories of Fred.

“It’s the end of an era really,” said Chris, 39.

“He was the last original member from when the club first opened in 1968 and he’s been there ever since.

“You could count on one hand the number of gradings he has missed.

“I think all the members have missed his presence, seeing that familiar face when you arrive each week.”

Northwich Guardian: Fred Snelson passed away on November 19Fred Snelson passed away on November 19 (Image: Supplied)

Chris and Andrew, who joined the club more than 30 years ago themselves, took charge following David’s death in 2021.

Coming so soon after the pandemic and having been forced to relocate from Rudheath to Wincham, it was a difficult time for the club.

Chris said it is largely thanks to Fred that they managed to survive.

“We’ve faced a fair few challenges in recent years and Fred’s support with all that has been greatly appreciated.

“He was a mentor to me and Andrew.

“Now we will look to continue to build on what he has helped create.”

Fred worked for the now defunct Imperial Chemical Industries for much of his life and was married to Janet, with the pair described by Chris as 'inseparable'.

His death came as quite a shock to the club, as Fred had continued to attend meets until recent weeks.

As well as a senior coach in Ju-Jitsu and Kobudo, Fred, a seventh Dan black belt, served as a technical officer and examiner for the Cheshire Budo Federation, of which the Mid Cheshire club is a part of, and the World Ju-Jitsu Kobudo Organisation GB.

Chris’ mother Helen, the club's secretary, said: “Fred was a loyal and committed student with a wealth of technical knowledge. He was known for making copious notes which became a valued reference.

“After lockdown it was very difficult and the very survival of the club was touch and go as we were forced to relocate. Fred was a major figure in helping to rebuild the club.

“He was well respected by everybody who knew him, often people said he was a true gentleman.

“He will be very sadly missed.”

An inquest into his death was opened at Warrington Coroners Court on Wednesday (December 6).