A FENCING club is “extremely proud” after three of its members qualified to represent Great Britain in the World Veterans Fencing Championships.

Brian Causton, 73, Matthew Chell, who is 59, and 51-year-old Ingrid Heskett are in Livorno in Italy to compete in the six-day World Veterans Fencing Championships, where fencers from 50 countries will take part.

They are all members of Brighton and Hove Fencing Club, the current Sussex County foil champions, which meets at Brighton Aldridge Community Academy in Lewes Road, Brighton. Its members rang in age from ten to well into their eighties.

“Obviously, the club is extremely proud of all our fencers and in particular Brian, Ingrid and Matthew for qualifying for these championships,” said chairman Tim Chittleburgh.

It’s the first time Matthew, who lives in Brighton with his partner, has qualified for the World Championships, where he will compete in the 50-plus age group in the individual epee, one of three weapons in fencing, alongside the foil and the sabre, each of which has its own rules.

“I’m delighted to be competing – it’s lovely,” said Matthew, a retired local government policy analyst.

“I have been fencing on and off for 46 years, since I was a schoolboy.

“Fencing is a sport where you have to use a bit of guile, where you are trying to outwit your opponent. It’s not just about physical fitness, it’s also chess-like in the way you use strategy and tactics.”

Ingrid will be representing Great Britain in both the individual and team epee in the 50-plus category. She represented the country in the last World Championships and the European Championships earlier this year and has battled ill health to continue fencing after starting at the age of 11.

“I am very pleased and looking forward to competing,” said Ingrid, a mother of three who lives in Hove. I used the foil because in those days girls were not considered strong enough to do epee because they are heavy. I gave up when I was 17, and then when I was 38, my son found my foils rusting in the garage and said he wanted to give it a go. Well, I wasn’t going to just stand and watch, so I took it up again.”

Ingrid, who runs Madebyi.com, which makes dance, skate and gymnastics clothing, was being encouraged by coaches and other fencers to use the epee because they told her she was a natural and she was doing well in competitions until rheumatoid arthritis forced her to stop for four years between the ages of 41 and 45.

“It meant I couldn’t hold the epee,” said Ingrid. “Then I was put on a new treatment and it gave me my life back.”

Brian will represent Great Britain in the individual Foil and Epee and the GB Foil Team. He also qualified for the Epee team but decided to focus on just three events.

Brian, who lives in Rottingdean, said: “When I took up fencing 58 years ago at the age of 15, it was a pretty elitist sport, but it’s far more inclusive these days.

“I won an open tournament when I was 66, which was one of the peaks of my fencing career.”