"Webster Bursary" Award
Beverley Webster epitomises what a woman can achieve in the in the 3rd age of her life. Beverley commenced aikido when she was in her early 50s at Japan Seminar House, under Robert Botterill Sensei. To say that either of them quite knew what they were getting into would be an understatement. Both had never really encountered personalities and styles of each other. It would also suffice to say that over the course of time, both have joined the mutual admiration club of each other.
Beverley did not have an easy path to attaining her shodan. A testament to her spirit was that despite fitting the criteria (over 60 years old) for progressing to shodan via recommendation her response was 'over my dead body'.
The number of women participating in aikido is not high and yet for some reason Beverley's ni dan was an all ladies event. Whilst the others were considerably younger and were able to move more fluidly for knee techniques, Beverley's weapon proficiency was a sight to behold. It was only fitting that Beverley was recommended to the grade of san dan in 2014, this being achieved as she progressed into the next decade of her life.
In addition to her training, Beverley has contributed enormously to the organisation at a dojo, State and National level. She was the Summer School organiser for 4 years. She ran the Commemorative School after the passing of Sugano Sensei, this school prior to the 50th anniversary school was one of our biggest schools and involved considerable participation from Australian and overseas attendees. She was National Secretary for 5 years for the organisation.
Unfortunately injuries now prevent Beverley from being an active participant on the mat in the dojo. Whilst she would love to still be training the time has come where the risk to her physical wellbeing outweighs the benefit. However, her desire to remain connected and contributing remains undiminished. It is for this reason that the organisation has seen fit at a National level to recognise her contribution and grant her the first ever honorary life membership. In addition the organisation at a Victorian State level seeks to enshrine the values that she espouses and epitomises namely perseverance and commitment by the establishment of the annual summer school 'Webster bursary' that will pay the training fees of a student. The bursary will be awarded preferably to a woman and in the absence of a suitable woman to a student over the age of 50.
by Linda Godfrey, Area Rep - 2015