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As I see it
A GRANDAD fulfilled a martial arts dream only weeks before his death from cancer.
Brave Bill McBurney won his yellow belt in the ancient art of Aikido in December - just before the disease took hold of his body.
And Bill was even buried in his Aikido kit after he died aged 77 last month in St Clare's Hospice in Jarrow.
Today his widow, Rita, and daughter Valerie Davidson, heaped praise on the efforts of the nursing staff at the hospice.
And Bill himself wrote a heart-tugging poem in praise of the staff who cared for him in the last weeks of his life.
His family have framed the poem and it now takes pride of place in the Primrose Terrace hospice.
Rita, of Lizard Lane, Marsden, said: "The staff and all the volunteers at St Clare's were absolutely wonderful to my husband. They couldn't possibly have done any more."
Bill, a former Royal and Merchant Navy seaman, remained super-fit until the final months of his life.
He caught the martial arts bug from his grandson lan, a black belt in Aikido.
And in the weeks before he was struck down by cancer Bill became obsessed with his training sessions at Jarrow Community Centre.
Daughter Valerie said: "It became the love of his life. He was so proud when he achieved his yellow belt in just four months.
"It was a great sadness to him that he had to give up when he became too ill."
When the Aikido practitioner reaches the high-level Rank of black belt with a 6th Dan he is in a position of High Level Aikido Teacher - Shihan (tranlation: master instructor). After the 4th Dan it a Sensei, after the 6th dan its a Master Sensei, the names are used in Dojos (aikido Schools) but, outside the school mostly it will be just Sensei - and his Dan rank
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