Edinburgh honours top judo veteran

Image caption,
George Kerr's honour comes after a lifetime of achievement in the sport

A judo master has received an award for making an "outstanding contribution" to his home city of Edinburgh.

George Kerr, 73, received the Edinburgh Award, honouring people who have made an impact on the city.

He is the fourth person to receive the honour, following Ian Rankin, JK Rowling and Sir Chris Hoy.

Mr Kerr received a CBE for services to the sport in the Queen's New Year Honours List.

He was awarded the 10th Dan in February 2010, a title held by only five other people in the world.

Stone handprints

After the ceremony, the man dubbed "Mr Judo", said: "It's a fantastic honour to get this. They give it to people who put Edinburgh on the map.

"It's a great thing to be honoured by your own people.

"It's fantastic when you consider I was a little boy from Craigentinny whose father was a bus driver."

The event saw the unveiling of Mr Kerr's handprints in the City Chambers quadrangle, where they have been engraved in Caithness stone alongside those of the previous Edinburgh Award winners.

Jenny Dawe, Edinburgh City Council leader, said Mr Kerr was a "hugely deserving" member of the illustrious Edinburgh Award "club".

The award followed what the British Judo Association (BJA) president described as an "incredible" year.

'Mr Judo'

At the end of last year Mr Kerr also received one of Japan's highest awards. The Order of the Rising Sun, announced in Emperor Akihito's November honours list, is described as the Japanese equivalent of a CBE.

The judo legend began practising the sport when he was eight and, as a young man, won a scholarship to study judo in Japan for four years.

He won the gold medal in the 1957 European Championships in Rotterdam and a string of other awards.

The former captain of the British judo team also found success as a coach, guiding the Austrian Peter Seisenbacher to judo gold in the 1984 and 1988 Olympics.

Mr Kerr subsequently founded The Edinburgh Club, which has produced a string of top-level judo performers.

He has run the club for 40 years and still combines his BJA duties with coaching youngsters coming into the sport.

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