Preston’s first citizen has found a novel way of winding down after a hectic year as mayor.
Coun Nick Pomfret has taken up the art of Tai Chi Fan, which he learned on a trip to Beijing, and has performed it in the centre of Preston.
And, although he revealed he already holds a black belt in Taekwondo, he is now putting his energies into learning new moves.
Performing alongside the mayor was the mayoress, Barbara Pomfret, and students from the UCLan Confucius Institute led by Master Zhang Ying, who is a three times Chinese national Tai Chi champion.
The group learned 52 Tai Chi Fan moves during a trip to Beijing, where they spent four hours a day perfecting them, and the mayor admitted he had a head start on learning the new art.
Coun Pomfret said: “I first started in 1973 as a young boy, when I did Wing Chun Kung Fu for eight to 10 years.
I worked right through the ranks, Craig got to one below black belt and I got to black belt first dan. And I got black sash in Kung Fu.Coun Nick Pomfret
“Then my family came along and a mortgage and I had other commitments, so I put it on the back burner.
“When my son, Craig, was old enough to ask to go to martial arts we did Taekwondo at West View Leisure Centre. Initially I was a parent watching and I got itchy feet and thought I want to have a go.
“I worked right through the ranks, Craig got to one below black belt and I got to black belt first dan. And I got black sash in Kung Fu.”
He said he enjoyed Tai Chi Fan, and said: “It incorporates a wide range of movements from non-martial sources, coupled with the distinctively motivating, energising music.
“It’s very fitting that this was one of the final events in my mayoral year.
“With this being one of my last actions I would love to raise awareness and donations for my chosen charity, St Catherine’s Hospice.”
Feixia Yu, director of the UCLan Confucius institute, said: “We were delighted to join the mayor in one of the final acts of his term and help to raise funds for St Catherine’s Hospice at the same time.
“A key remit of the UCLan Confucius Institute is to share China’s traditions with the local community and I am delighted that Mayor Pomfret has been a big supporter of this during his time in office.”
Senior fund-raiser at St Catherine’s Hospice Lynne Whittaker added: “The support of Mayor and Mayoress Pomfret during their term of office has been absolutely fantastic.
“The variety of activities and events they have organised and got involved in with, along with their enthusiasm for the cause, has been wonderful.
“The fan dance performance was amazing – certainly a very creative and unusual way to raise funds!
“The money they have raised over the past 12 months will help St Catherine’s to provide our specialised care and enable our staff to be there for local people when it really matters most.”
To donate, visit www.justgiving.com/Mayor-of-Preston.