Today, on 9th January, at 1am, our Sensei Don Werner passed away peacefully in his sleep, after battling with cancer. It is an example of his character, that only 19 days ago he gave a 40 minute speech littered with his usual dry humour and meaningful words, at our annual Pinewood Awards Dinner. And it is a mark of what Don means to all of us, that 280 judoka and parents came from far and wide to be at the Dinner. At the end of the speech, there were tears in many eyes, as the standing ovation went on, and on, and on and we all knew we were soon to lose this great man. A man who has changed all our lives massively, making them bigger, brighter and better.
Donald Franklin Werner was born on 20th May 1932. He came to judo late, in his mid-twenties, when he took over the coaching at the Bracknell Judo Club in 1958, then housed in a small scout hut with a total membership of 20 people. Before that, Don had enjoyed a promising Cycle Speedway career at West Park, becoming a National Speedway Champion in 1948, and was an excellent competitive swimmer for the Beckenham Swimming Club. Aged 18, Don completed two years National Service where he was stationed both in Egypt and Germany. He then went on to serve in the Territorial Army as a Lance-Bombardier in the Royal Horse Artillery from 1953 to 1956.