Hundreds of young fans and a troupe of martial artists got a big kick out of welcoming the world-famous Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles to Wrexham.
On hand to greet the Turtles in traditional style were members of Hope Wrexham Tae Kwon-do (TKD) Club who showed the formidable reptile twosome some pretty spectacular moves of their own.
The Mutant Turtles, who have been trained in the art of ninjutsu by their rat sensei Master Splinter, usually emerge from their sewer lair to confront the villains who threaten New York City.
But in a dramatic change of scene the children’s favourites chopped and kicked their way into the busy shopping centre to say hello to an army of young fans who turned out in force to see them at various intervals during the day.
After pitting their martial skills against the Tae Kwon-do club, they faced their fans and posed for pictures with many of them.
Among the first was five-year-old Alex Barclay from Wrexham who was looking smart in his own Mutant Ninja costume.
He said: “I love all the Ninjas Turtles and like to dress up like them. I even want to be one of them when I grow up.
“It was great that I was able to come and meet them today. My favourite is Leo and I’ve had my picture taken with him which was really good.”
His mum Becky Barclay who waited with him said: “I think it was marvellous that Eagles Meadow arranged for the Ninja Turtles to come along to the shopping centre and it’s made Alex’s day because he has lots of their DVDs and was looking forward to it very much.”
Kitted out in his bright green Ninja Turtles tee-shirt ready to meet his heroes was five-year-old Noah Safi from Wrexham.
He was brought along by his gran Helen Priamo, also from Wrexham, who said: “He got me up at 6 o’clock this morning and told me he wanted to wear his special tee-shirt for the trip to Eagles Meadow.
“Noah’s a really big fan of the Turtles and he’s got all their films. He also met Mike the Knight, who is another of his heroes, when he came here last week.”
Noah said: “It was great to meet Leo and Raph, who is my favourite Turtle. But I’ve liked them all for a long time.”
Kayden Harry, five, from Borras, couldn’t believe his luck when he got to stand alongside his Turtle heroes.
A thrilled Kayden, who was there with his auntie Kirsty Harry said: “I’m a big fan and I’ve got most of their DVDs, which I really enjoy watching. My favourite is Leo and it was great that he was here today.”
Mum Katrina Carroll brought along her 12-year-old daughter Rhiannon and son Rhys, five, from their home in Brymbo to meet the Ninja Turtles, although it was Rhys who argued he was the biggest fan of the fighting reptiles.
“I like them because of the way they fight and Leo is my favourite Turtle, so it was great to meet him and Raph today. I’m also coming back on August 19 to see Fireman Sam because I’m also a fan of his,” he said.
Andrea Roberts from Wrexham was at the event with her son Iwan, seven, who said he was also impressed with the way the Ninja Turtles beat their enemies with chops and kicks.
He said: “I watch their films all the time and Raph is the best Turtle, so it was good to see him and have my picture taken with him today.”
Mum Andrea said: “He’s been looking forward to coming along here all week because he’s a big fan of the Turtles. I’ll be bringing him back to see Fireman Sam because I think it’s really useful that Eagles Meadow organises events like this in the school holidays.”
After meeting the Turtles the youngsters in the crowd were thrilled to watch a demonstration by members of the Hope Wrexham Tae Kwon-Do Club nearby in Eagles Meadow.
Among the stars of the all-action free show was nine-year-old Sam Owen from Llay who has been a member of the club for years and qualified for the coveted black belt last year.
He gave an impressive display of kicking his way through a wooden board held out in front of him by a fellow member and later explained: “It’s one of my favourite moves!”
Also wowing the onlookers by smashing his way through a wooden board – this time with his bare fist – was 12-year-old Jack Cox from Llay who’s been a club member for four years and qualified for his black belt last April.
He said: “The move is called breaking and it’s really great to do, especially when there’s a big crowd watching like there is today.”
Club leader Julie Price, 53, from Wrexham, said: “We were delighted to come down to Eagles Meadow today to show off our martial skills and many of the members are fans of the Ninja Turtles, so it was great to put the two things together.
“Tae Kwon-Do is a modern Korean martial art, characterized by its fast, high and spinning kicks. There are multiple interpretations of the name Tae Kwon-Do.
“I’ve has been teaching since 1988 and opened Wrexham Hope TKD in 2000. During that time we’ve produced over 60 black belts, the youngest being nine years and seven months old. Four of our former students are currently running their own clubs.
“We currently have a total of 130 members aged from three to 77 years old and we run classes throughout the week at the sports hall in Glyndwr University, Rhosnesni High School, Ysgol Morgan Llwyd in Wrexham and Castell Alun High School in Mold as well as in Coedpoeth and Ellesmere.
“Tae Kwon-Do is for men, women and children. It will improve your fitness, flexibility, and most of all your confidence.”
Through their battles with Shredder, the Kraang and loads of super-powerful mutants, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles learn to rely on themselves and each other as they grow to become the heroes they are destined to be.
Leonardo (Leo) dreams of being the perfect hero – a brave, decisive, square-jawed leader of men, just like his idol, Captain Ryan, from his favourite TV show Space Heroes.
A straight-up brawler, Raphael has no patience for hiding in shadows or keeping his voice down. Tough, brawny, and aggressive, Raph would rather fight first and ask questions later, which sometimes gets the Turtles in over their heads.
The visit by the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles was part of the “Celebrity Summer” programme which has seen a series of popular TV characters dropping into Eagles Meadow.
On Tuesday, August 19, Fireman Sam will be coming and the final visit will be by Lau Lau from Waybuloo on Tuesday, August 26. Both will make appearances at various intervals from 11am until 3.30pm.
For more details of Hope Wrexham Tae Kwon-do Club, go to their website at: http://www.hope-wrexham-tkd.co.uk/