About

Hi, and Welcome!

Newham Swords was founded in 2005 by International and Olympic fencers Linda Strachan and Pierre Harper and has rapidly gained a reputation on the national and international fencing scene for developing young fencers, many from what would be called disadvantaged backgrounds, into international competition winners.

Williams-Stewart and Contractor 2019 U18 U12 Champions
Williams-Stewart and Contractor 2019 U18 U12 Champions

The club is open to all youngsters from about the age of 6 upward within Newham and the surrounding boroughs and has recently extended to teaching adult beginners one night a week.

If you are interested in joining you can contact Linda on 07956 618 898 or email linda.strachan@newhamswords.org.uk

How It All Began

The Club is situated a few miles from the 2012 Olympic stadium and was formed in November 2005 by Olympic Fencers, Pierre Harper and Linda Strachan, as a result of huge interest in fencing during Newham’s 2004 “Olympic Summer of Sport”. This was a Newham Council organised sports festival to give young people a chance to try different sports.

Mohammed Maksim Dominik win gold silver bronze
Mohammed, Maksim and Dominik take gold silver & bronze 2019 Newham Swords Junior Championship U10

Pierre and Linda were so amazed at the popularity of the sport, having had 700 children try it out that summer, that they decided to to set up their own fencing club.

Thanks to backing from Newham Council’s “Estate based pogramme”, aimed at encouraging children into sport and divert them away from crime, Newham Swords was formed.

Club profile and achievements

Newham Swords is a community club of around 90 members aged from six to nineteen years and who are from mixed ethnic backgrounds. Of these 75% are from single parent families or low income backgrounds.

The club has been praised by Tessa Sanderson (who used to run Newham’s Sports Academy), Newham Education Dept, Newham Metropolitan Police and the local NHS for its efforts in bringing communities together, improving young people’s performance in school, reducing crime and tackling health issues in the borough.

General fencing scene - A Typical Club Night
A Typical Club Night

The Club has been referred to by Sir Robin Wales, Mayor of Newham, as “a shining local example of a sports legacy from the 2012 Olympic Games”. He also remarked that Newham Swords Fencing Club has enabled its young people “to develop confidence, a sense of team work and fair play, perseverance, leadership skills and empathy”

Despite only running for fifteen years, the club has made remarkable progress and is now the top junior foil club in the UK. It is regularly featured in local and national press and appeared on programmes such as London Tonight and BBC London. The Club was awarded 2018 Club of the Year by British Fencing, beating several well established fencing clubs from all over the UK

The Newham Swords coaches, Pierre Harper and Linda Strachan, havealso recently won awards. In November 2016, Linda received the British Empire Medal as part of the Queen’s Birthday Honours List, for her work with Newham Swords Fencing Club and the local community. In January, 2017, Pierre received a Silver Medal which was awarded by British Fencing in recognition of his excellent work with Newham Swords Fencing Club and to Fencing in general.

What we are doing now

Newham Swords Fencing Club is involved in the following key activities:

  • Delivery of coached sessions to young people aged 16-19 years in various youth and community centres within Newham (to tackle gun and knife crime)
  • Delivery of school holiday sessions which children attend for free
  • Four Newham Swords fencers passed their grade 4 referee exam and acted  as referees for Newham at junior national events
  • Twelve young Newham Swords fencers achieved a qualification in ‘piste-side assistance’ and are now able to assist referees in competitions
  • Now runs the Newham Junior Series (a national junior series of events for fencers all over the country) which caters for up to 230 children per event
  • Provision of after- school fencing clubs at local primary and secondary schools
  • Provision of club beginner courses for young children and adults Newham
  • Provision of fencing sessions at special events such as the ‘Lord Mayors Show’
  • Regular contact with local and national television and press. Featured in numerous articles in the Newham Recorder and Daily Telegraph. Also appeared on ITV Tonight and BBC London.

For our more recent successes see

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