TAE Kwon Do clubs from across the Forest and Monmouthshire came together to get the blood pumping in a fundraiser for the British Heart Foundation.

More than 100 practitioners of the Korean martial art took part in a ‘spar-a-thon’ organised by Melinda Shaw-Penman, the assistant instructor of the Cinderford club.

Members of the Cinderford club were joined by others from Blakeney and Lydney, Coleford, and Monmouth, Usk and Abergavenny.

The challenge was to complete 100 one minute rounds of continuous sparring.

Melissa said: “There was a wide range of participants; male and female, young and not so young, local and world contenders. What a fantastic turn out!

“This was the first time we’d held an Inter-Club Spar-a-Thon, and the Tae Kwon-Do clubs in Monmouth, Usk and Abergavenny, Cinderford, Blakeney and Lydney, and Coleford Tae Kwon Do were all involved.

“The Spar-a-Thon kicked off at 10am. Participants’ family members gathered round for moral support.

“Timekeeper Melissa Kent set the stopwatch, World Master Tony Farr shouted “go!” and before we knew it everything was in full swing!

All participants were sparring from the word go.

“Our youngest students, up to school year two, were to complete 25 rounds, up to year 6 did 50, up to year 10, did 75, and over 16s did 100 rounds.

“Over three hours later, and the ambitious target of 100 rounds was finally reached.

“A special thank you to everyone who took part in this fabulous fundraiser.

“Thanks, as well to parents, grandparents and siblings for their support from the side-lines.

The Inter-Club Spar-a-Thon Challenge may have been my idea, but these events are only successful if everyone pulls together. We’ve already smashed our original target of £,1000, and donations are still coming in for this fantastic cause!”

Mel’s father died aged just 48 from a heart attack in 1984 and her mother also had a heart attack two years ago.

According to the British Heart Foundation, nearly 25,000 people across the Forest and Monmouthshire are living with heart and circulatory disease.

Donations can be made by visiting www.justgiving.com and searching for Cinderford Tae Kwon Do.