A super-fit karate expert who died from lung cancer despite having never smoked has inspired his family to take a stand against the disease.
Randolph Williams, who represented England and Great Britain at the sport, carried on training for months after his diagnosis.
However the Sensei – instructor – at Leeds Shotokan Karate Club died in February, aged 55.
Randolph’s partner Alinka Greasley said: “I have no doubt that his love for karate helped him face this biggest fight of his life, and he did so with immense dignity and grace. He didn’t moan once.”
Randolph took up karate in 1975, winning national and international titles and representing England and GB for eight years. In 2000 he took over as Sensei at Leeds Shotokan Karate Club, training hundreds of children and adults.
Through the club he met Alinka, who said he developed a persistent cough just before Christmas 2010 and after tests was diagnosed with lung cancer the following April.
“He went to the gym and trained on a daily basis, rarely drank and never smoked in his life,” she said.
“Karate was not just his livelihood, it was his passion and love and he just kept on training. Only at Christmas in 2011 did he stop training and started to tell people he had cancer.”
Six weeks later, Randolph was admitted to St Gemma’s Hospice, where he died with mum Viola, sisters Ruby and Melvina, brother Lester and Alinka by his side.
Now his friends at the club are backing Cancer Research UK’s Stand Up To Cancer drive. Scientists, celebrities and communities are joining forces to generate funds and awareness, with a star-studded extravaganza on Channel 4 this Friday.