I’m pictured with a Doncaster man who’s finding that age is no barrier to keeping fit and healthy after joining an award-winning team.
Ash Ladley, from Barnby Dun, is 83 years old but has a spring in his step of someone less than half his age.
The retired engineering draftsman is the oldest to join Fit Rovers - a healthy lifestyle programme run by Club Doncaster Foundation with support from the NHS organisation I chair.
Ash sadly lost his wife on Christmas Day last year and is enjoying the social side of meeting up with fellow Fit Rovers every Thursday evening whilst learning how to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
Not that he needs too much advice, as he’s out every morning at seven for a walk into the nearby countryside with a pal who shares his love of the outdoors. The pair go walking and cycling on alternate days, sometimes clocking up to 16 miles in the saddle, or around one and a half hours on foot.
They combine their walking with a litter pick, helping to keep their route clean and tidy.
They have been following this routine for six days a week since Ash retired 19 years ago. His pal takes one day a week off, but Ash doesn’t stop - choosing to spend the time swimming and playing table tennis.
He completed the London Marathon aged 56 in a time of just under four hours and is nearly 30 years on is enjoying the Fit Rovers sessions, in particular learning how to maintaining a healthy diet.
Ash is one of 200 Doncaster men who have joined the Fit Rovers programme since its launch, losing a staggering 90 stones in weight between them, by regular exercise and making healthier lifestyle choices.
It’s proving to be a programme that nobody wants to leave, with Fit Rovers’ members quickly developing a sense of comradeship that translates into everyone encouraging each other on in a supportive rather than competitive way.
I’m delighted to report that the value of the Fit Rovers’ programme has been recognised by the Sheffield and Hallamshire County Football Association, which last week named it their 2018 Community Project of the Year.
It’s one of only 10 local winners of the Football Association (FA) and McDonalds Grassroots Football Awards, from nearly 3,000 nominations nationally. How impressive is that?
The awards celebrate the work of individuals and groups to instil the FA’s PRIDE values – Progressive, Respectful, Inclusive, Determination and Excellent – and make a positive difference in their club, league or local community.
For more information about Fit Rovers ring 01302 764663.