Brunswick Gardens Volunteer Runs 10k

26th October, 2011

Brunswick Gardens volunteer Graham Bell has completed a 10k run in aid of ExtraCare.

Lyndsey Sadler and Graham Bell

85-year-old Graham, who was the oldest person in the race, finished in just over an hour and a half. "My granddaughter ran with me last year but she didn't want to this time because she said I was too slow!" he said. "I wasn't the fastest person there, but some of the people who finished near the start were only about twenty or thirty years old, so I did pretty well."

Graham works in the gym at the Sheffield retirement village and has enjoyed sport all his life. He played football when he was younger and has now been running competitively and fundraising for many years.

When Brunswick Gardens Village opened, Graham joined the gym almost immediately and soon started volunteering as well. "I really enjoy it," he said. "We have quite a lot of members who say they just come down to the gym for a chat with me which I think is a real compliment."

He also works with the Sheffield Society for the Blind, helping people with visual impairments to get out and be active, and the money that he has raised will be split equally between the two charities.

Graham has been awarded an MBE for his volunteer work, which also includes working with the witness protection programme. "I was really surprised to receive the MBE," he said. "My French teacher had heard about the work I was doing and nominated me, and when I went down to London the Queen even asked me if I was still running."

In his spare time, Graham is a student at the University of Sheffield, studying French. Although he left school when he was just 13, this is his second university course: he took a degree in Combined Studies at the age of 70.

"I think you've got to keep active and busy," he said. "I want to keep fit and healthy, I don't want to just sit inside and watch TV. I know people my age who have done that and there is a huge difference."

Gym member Paula Rickwood said she was very impressed at Graham's energy and enthusiasm. "To even contemplate such a run at his age is commendable and the fact that he is donating his hard earned sponsor money to this great cause is fantastic," she said.

Picture: Brunswick Gardens Village gym instructor Lyndsey Sadler with volunteer Graham Bell.

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