Ley has been in Jersey since January and currently teaches fencing at St Michael’s, St George’s, Victoria College Prep and De La Salle schools, with the senior Victoria College boys joining in later this month.Ley took up fencing when he was in the military, and was the first ever soldier to have a professional fencing course as part of his resettlement package when he left the army about ten years ago.’I started coaching in 1983, while I was in the army, and I left in 1994 and became a full-time coach in Oxfordshire.
It was quite funny because, ironically, I ended up as coach for the RAF, coaching people I had competed against when I was in the army – it gave me the chance to get my own back on some of them,’ he added with a laugh.He also taught at eight different schools, including Sussex House in London, whose pupils fenced at International standard.Ley had known Marcia Lee, the president of the Jersey Fencing Club, for a number of years through fencing training courses.
‘I met her again at a course last summer, 2002.
I was beginning to feel I wanted a new challenge.
She said: “”Come to Jersey””.
I came over last November and fell in love with the place and helped out at the Regent Fencing Club with the people who went to the Commonwealth championships in Australia.
Marcia, and Jim Drew, told me there was scope here for me because there was no full-time coach.
I moved here at the end of January.’He wrote to nine schools and had immediate positive replies from three, and got to work last May.Since then the numbers – and the schools – who are involved, have grown tremendously.’I’m surprised it grew so fast.
Every class I teach is full – they vary in size between ten to 20 pupils in each and there is a waiting list for every one.
It has been quite amazing.’This, perhaps unexpected, popularity, is where 007 comes in to the equation.’It was that scene in Die Another Day,’ Ley said.
‘I blame Bond entirely!’As well as the school lessons, Ley coaches the juniors at the Regent club and would like to do some work with the Youth Service.’Fencing is part of the Duke of Edinburgh award scheme and I could certainly help out there.’In the longer term he is preparing the juniors for their next competition against Guernsey.’It’s in May and I expect 20 juniors to take part.
They have to be of a certain standard so we won’t have the 40 we need by then, but we’ll be working on it.’