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Residents and Students Keep Fit Together

15th November, 2011

Residents from ExtraCare's Broadway Gardens scheme in Bushbury, Wolverhampton, have spent some time doing athletics with young people from the Prince's Trust at a local sports hall.

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The event was organised by Activity Co-ordinator Lorraine Evans, who wrote to the Prince's Trust to ask if they would like to help the residents to keep active.

Some youngsters eagerly responded and the two groups have been working together for several weeks before their trip to Aldersley Stadium, where they took part in three throwing events: shotput, javelin and discus. They used foam equipment, although several of the students also demonstrated how to use the real things over lunch.

92-year-old resident Grace O'Connor managed to beat several of her neighbours in the shotput and javelin events, and said she was proud of herself. "I'm pretty good for 92, don't you think? No one would guess I was that old!"

Former marathon runner Christina Thomas, who is a resident at Broadway Gardens, said she had really enjoyed the day. "I used to do a lot, but I ran my last marathon just at the end of the last century. I've had a few accidents now and I can't do as much, but today's been really good." She had started off the day by briskly walking several laps of the stadium, while other residents and staff looked on in surprise.

Lorraine said that Broadway Gardens is planning to organise another event in March, perhaps including some track events this time. "We've all had a fantastic time today, and I think we've shown that old age is no barrier to staying active!" she said.

Scheme Manager Jenny Jackson also came along on the day and said she was thrilled to see the residents, especially those who live with dementia, enjoying themselves. "The thing that makes me happiest of all in this job is seeing residents who are part of the Enriched Opportunities Programme® having a good time, and that's definitely happening today," she said.

The event was part of ExtraCare's Olympics Challenge. As the 2012 Olympics are rapidly approaching, residents and staff at ExtraCare's retirement villages and schemes are getting involved by travelling 1,000 miles each before the start of next year's Games.

The challenge, which was launched earlier this year by former England cricketer Baroness Rachael Heyhoe-Flint, requires each of the 30 villages and schemes to clock up their miles through running, rowing, archery, or more inventive activities!

Pictures (clockwise from top):

92-year-old resident Grace O'Connor

Broadway Gardens volunteer Louise with resident Beryl

Broadway Gardens' Manager Jenny Jackson, Activity Co-ordinator Lorraine Evans, resident Jean Nicholls, Social Club Support Worker Maria Parkes and residents Christina Thomas and Barbara Roberts

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