A WINSFORD martial arts expert is concerned with the impact Covid-19 could have on some people while sports facilities have been forced to close.

James Dubber warns that mental health issues, that he described as being on the rise, can be ‘a killer’.

He says the coronavirus pandemic and national lockdowns have had quite an impact on his Tiagon MMA club, based at New Images Youth and Community Centre.

Dubber, who has been nominated for and won Winsford Town Mayor’s Oscar awards in recent years as a community hero, said: “All the lockdowns have taken their toll on the club massively, as well as other clubs locally.

“We spent many years providing a service to people, helping them achieve their goals whether it was to lose weight, gain fitness, learn self defence or become a mixed martial arts competitor.

“We also work closely with disabled and vulnerable children and adults suffering with mental health issues, autism, ADHD and other disabilities, providing a safe and welcoming place of learning.

“2020 started off a strong year, the community numbers were good and everyone was in good spirits physically and mentally.

“The Covid curse struck and then it was announced we had to shut.

“Everything that we had worked for to become an award winning club had slowly started to fall apart.

“We have scraped by, lockdown by lockdown, abiding by the rules and reopening when we could but at that point the fear of Covid had been put in people’s minds so numbers were at a minimum.

“Covid-19 is a deadly virus but locking down gyms and sports clubs is also deadly.

“Places like gyms and sports clubs keep people strong and healthy, it keeps their immune system strong.

“Since the lockdowns mental health is rising faster than ever before in children and adults, which is also a killer.

“It’ is heart breaking that we have had to close again but as people know there is strength in numbers and Tiagon MMA has touched so many hearts over the years.

“Once a Tiagon always a Tiagon, anybody that’s trained with us know when the chips are down we get back up and go again.

“A little message for everybody who’s reading: Remember who you are, remember your strength, remember why you fight, because every sun will set, but it will always rise and bless us with a new day.”