A black belt grandma has been given a Point of Light Volunteering Award by Prime Minister David Cameron. 

Dot Naylor, 81, is one of the UK’s oldest female karate instructors and has volunteered for over 50 years, coaching thousands of youngsters in the ancient Japanese martial art.

She is the latest recipient of the Prime Minister’s Point of Light award, which recognises outstanding individual volunteers, people who are making a change in their community and inspiring others.


Dot, of South Woodham Ferrers, first took up karate in 1965 after seeing four Japanese masters of Shotokan karate demonstrate their skills at St George’s Hall in Liverpool.

Inspired to learn more but finding no classes open to women, Dot campaigned for a female course and, despite opposition as it was then considered a male-orientated sport, she started training alongside just two other women.

Dot was hooked and became a pioneer of women’s karate.

In 1966 she helped to found the Karate Union of Great Britain and when she moved to Essex in 1967 she went on to open a club with her husband Charles in Chelmsford, before achieving her first black belt in 1970 – one of the first women to achieve this expert level.

Dot and Charles both actively encouraged more women and children to train including their own children, Jane and Mark, who both achieved black belts.

Sadly Charles died in 2007 and Dot continued as the Chief Instructor, coaching three sessions a week with her daughter, her son in law and granddaughter alongside her.

Sensei Dot mentors her students both in and out of the training room and is particularly valued for her focus on supporting young people who have been bullied to help them rebuild their confidence and self-esteem.

Many of her young pupils have gone on to compete nationally and internationally including members of her own family.

Dot is very proud to have taught many students who have gone onto win British, European and World titles, five of which are current members of the KUGB England Squad.

Prime Minister David Cameron said: “Dot has been a pioneer of women’s karate and has trained and mentored thousands of young people over her 50 years as a volunteer. I’m delighted to make Dot a Point of Light.”

On receiving the award, Dot said: “I have been fortunate enough to be taught by some of the best Karate masters in the world.

"I believe everybody should do Karate, it has had a huge, positive impact on my life and I have always been keen to pass on my knowledge and experience to our students.

"I am proud to receive an award from The Prime Minister for simply doing what I love. It is fantastic.”

John Whittingdale MP for Maldon said: “I warmly congratulate Dot on receiving a Point of Light award which is richly deserved. Dot proves that sport is for all ages.

"It is fantastic that she has achieved so much not just through her own success in karate but by inspiring so many others to take up the sport.”