An integral part of the sporting community in Devizes, the Budo Club, looks set for a new chapter in its history with plans to move.

The club has submitted a planning application to build a new base on land at the town council’s allotment site in Windsor Drive.

If it goes ahead it will mean the end of almost half a century at its home by the former Queen’s Head pub in Dunkirk Hill.

The Budo Club, which teaches judo, aikido and karate, has produced top athletes including Tom Reed, who won Commonwealth silver in Glasgow in judo, and Jemima Duxbury, a three-time British champion. Last year club members won more than 170 medals in competitions home and abroad.

The Budo Club began in the summer of 1957 when friends John Underwood and John Styles, both in their mid twenties, had fun performing judo practice throws in a back garden in Victoria Road.

By that autumn the club was formed and practice sessions were held at the Community Centre on The Green (where the public toilets are now), using worn mattresses.

When the community centre closed two years later, the club moved to accommodation upstairs at the Old Crown Inn in New Park Street. Kenshiro Abbe, 8th Dan founder of the British Judo Council, gave a number of local courses.

Having outgrown the Old Crown, the club bought an old Army hut in 1964 and transported it from Tilshead. Club members reconstructed it behind the Queen’s Head pub, and then had the first purpose-built dojo in the West of England.

But disaster struck on the morning of Tuesday, January 14, 1975, when a fire destroyed it. Oil-fired heating was implicated as the potential cause and high winds blamed for fanning the blaze.

The club members rallied round and the then mayor David Goodwin launched a fundraising appeal. In the meantime, club members met at Downlands School and Rowde Village Hall until a new, bigger dojo was built.

This was opened in July 1976 by Olympic squad member Roy Inman.

Since then the club has gone from strength to strength and has more than 80 members, predominantly juniors.