Olympic celebration for fencing instructor the day before he died

PUBLISHED: 14:00 27 July 2012

James Davis with coach James Perry.

James Davis with coach James Perry.

James Perry, www.jimsworld.org

TRIBUTES have been paid to a world-class fencing instructor who died a day after he found out his top student would represent Britain in the London Olympics.

Professor James Perry, known to his friends as Jim, died in a two-car collision on July 13.

The crash happened on the B3141 Causeway at Woolavington and 65-year-old Mr Perry, who was driving a Ford Mondeo, died at the scene due to his injuries.

His student, 21-year-old James Davis, was chosen to represent team GB the day before the fatal accident and Mr Perry’s wife Jacqueline said he was so thrilled to find out the athlete had made it to the games.

Jacqueline, who was married to the renowned coach for 10 years, said: “Jim was absolutely over the moon when he found out James was placed number one, the Thursday before he passed away.

“He was working hard with him since James was 12 years old and it was Jim’s goal for him to be at the top of his game.

“Although James has spent the last three years at university he was following in Jim’s footsteps and is going to continue Jim’s method of sword fencing to carry that on.

“They had a tremendous relationship. Jim used to coach him over the phone when James was travelling all over the world.”

Mr Perry, from Barrington Road in Burnham, began fencing when he was 19 years old and was enlisted in the Armed Forces for 22 years.

Throughout his lifetime he also became a professional mountaineer, chief ski instructor, mountain leader, Arctic warfare instructor and survival instructor.

Mrs Perry said James, who was father to two daughters, a stepfather and grandfather, said although he had many talents, sword fencing was his life.

She said: “He was very well known in the UK and overseas, and was loved for his tremendous strength of character.

“He touched the lives of a great number of people, not just through his love of sword fencing but his ability to see into people and guide them, giving them strength and confidence.

“He was a natural with a great sense of humour.”

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