Martial arts centre hoping to bounce back after mill fire knockout blow
Monday 26th March 2018 @ 18:23 by Tom Greggan
Community News Stalybridge Tameside

A martial arts club that lost everything in the Ray Mill fire now faces the daunting prospect of starting again from scratch.

Dragons Martial Arts Centre only moved to Stalybridge in November after their previous home in Guide Bridge was sold from under them. Owner Arthur Sheldon has since spent thousands of pounds renovating the space, only to see it destroyed by the fire.

He says he didn’t want to believe the news at first. “My phone was going at 3 o’clock on Sunday morning with people telling me the mill was on fire,” Arthur said. “I thought it was April 1st. I went down to the scene and just couldn’t believe it.”

“Fifty-five years worth of my career has gone,” said a devastated owner, Arthur Sheldon.

Arthur has been practising martial arts since he was twelve years old and has been teaching all across Tameside for the past thirty years. Dragons Martial Arts has 32 members, the majority children, who have been left distraught by the news.

“Fifty-five years worth of my career has gone,” he said. “I’m 68 now, I’m getting a bit too old to start again but I’ve got to do it for the kids. You try telling a seven-year-old that the place he comes to three times a week isn’t there anymore. We are devastated.”

Arthur and the three other instructors- Jackie, Jenny and Norman, have been left with nothing. Bags, mats, pads, work tools, licences, certificates and money were all destroyed in the fire.

A GoFundMe page has been set up to try and raise funds for equipment but Dragons Martial Arts also need temporary accommodation so that classes can continue while the club gets back on its feet.

If you would like to donate, you can visit If you can help Dragons Martial Arts in any other way, such as donations of space or equipment, please call Arthur Sheldon on 07969924474.