Leicester-Shire & Rutland Sport's 'Feel Alive from 65' Celebration returned for the 6thconsecutive year to rejoice participation of sport and physical activity amongst the older generation. The prestigious event was held on the 26th October 2017 at the Link hotel in Loughborough, sponsored by Imago Venues.
Over 70 nominees and guests were invited, ranging participants from 65+ to a remarkable age of 96. The event reconciles as a special ceremony with many aspiring guests also attended to congratulate the participants. This included the likes of Gaynor Nashhanding the awards, well known for her enthusiasm and passion for sport, and Paige Murray, a GB T34 U23 wheelchair athlete and champion for 'This Girl can'.
Each of the nominees were recognised in one of the 7 award categories. The winners are listed below:
- Physical Activity Award – Lifelong Participation: Frank Booth, 96yrs from Oadby. Frank has played numerous sports throughout his life. He hasn't stopped as Frank joined Parklands Leisure Centre on the GP Referral Scheme in April 2015 and has been regularly attending ever since. His curiosity coupled with his "never give up" attitude is what keeps him forging ahead.
- Physical Activity Award – Newcomer to Participation: Valerie Heath, 72yrs from Wigston. Val began walking just over a year ago and has gone from strength to strength. Val's perseverance and hard work has paid off and today she can boast of having a lovely flowing stride which takes her effortlessly over whatever terrain she challenges.
- Male Active Ageing Award - John Onsworth, 72yrs from Long Whatton. A founder member of the Dishley Grange Patients' Group Walking for Health initiative which has been running since 2013. From small beginnings to a group meeting Wednesday's regularly, the walk now attracts around 50 walkers and with participations levels still on the rise.
- Female Active Ageing Award - Norma Wray, 77yrs, Wigston. A keen advocate of Nordic Walks, Norma introduced many new people to the group. Her cheeriness always means everyone has a great time on walks with great encouragement. Norma volunteers despite her illness early in the year, showing great determination and getting the most out of her active life.
- Couple Active Ageing Award: Jess & Jan Cooper, 91 & 96yrs from Rutland. The couple have been holding regular Tea Dances for AgeUK in and around Rutland for more than 26 years. Age and medical conditions has not stopped their regular commitments and have held various fundraising activities around the country. Together they raise thousands of pounds a year. Their shared passion encourages others far and wide.
- Referral Scheme Award: Anne Porter, 86yrs from Rutland. Took on a challenge and recently completed a sky dive to raise money for the local area. Anne has completed FAME and her improvements since she first started in the class are amazing. A very friendly nature of Anne encourages others to do more in her daily routine.
- Community Group Award – Social: Parklands Walking Group, Tilton. The group meet every Friday and started with 2 people back in January 2016. There is now an average of 22 people split in two groups depending on their ability. The group are so close, they support each other through health problems, share tea time together and all now feel part of an extended family.
- Community Group Award – Condition Specific: Strong & Steady from Tilton. The group started at Parklands Leisure Centre in Oadby last summer for people over 65 who are unsteady on their feet, had problems with balance, or were at risk of falling. Participants support, encourage and inspire each other to push their boundaries and are now independent on their feet again from being previously being chairbound.
- Oldest Athlete Award: Frank Booth, 96yrs from Oadby.
Gaynor Nash acknowledged Frank Booth and shared a few words, "At 96 years of age and you still have to get up and go to join these wonderful groups, I'm assuming you enjoy it?".
Frank said, "Yes definitely. Getting on the bike actually, the most I've done is 7 miles". The nominator highlighted how his contribution helped to achieve the Parklands Leisure Centre 2017 target during National Fitness Day to raise money for charity.
Kate Scott, Leicester-Shire & Rutland Sport said: "The nominees tonight are all very deserving of their recognition and should be very proud of their achievements. Without a doubt they are all amazing role models for all ages".
The celebration follows the fantastic 'Feel Alive from 65' week which included a week of activity sessions aimed to boost activeness amongst older people from 25th September-1st October.
(Photo: Frank Booth pictured with an Imago Venues representative)