PAUL Graham hails his longest serving student's achievement as remarkable.

Stephen McMahon has received his sixth-degree black belt after 33 years as a karate student at Cheshire Martial Arts Centre, which is based in Evans House, Norman Street.

"To have started age five and to be still doing it at 38 is remarkable," said chief instructor Graham, an eighth-dan black belt.

"He simply enjoys his training and has done a bit of refereeing for me. He is well liked by the group."

McMahon, a school teacher in Manchester, added: "I started training with Paul in 1986 at Birchwood Community High School.

"Passed my first-dan black belt aged 10 in 1991. Not many people reach sixth dan before 40 as not many people start karate aged five and are still doing it my age."

Another seven years of training will bring his seventh dan.

"He'll still be here doing his training then, I've no doubts about that," said Graham.

Cheshire Martial Arts Centre won the Dave Warburton Memorial Trophy for most wins at the recent SSKA National Open Kata Championships staged at Birchwood High School.