Retire to Inspire
Shelia and Ron, a retired couple from Altrincham, have become ambassadors for Trafford Leisure’s Physical Activity Referral Programme. The pair, who have been married for 26 years and have four grandchildren, are volunteering for Trafford Leisure to inspire and welcome people from their local community into physical activity, having both experienced the positive effects of exercise themselves. Shelia and Ron are advocates of Altrincham Leisure centre and the difference a commitment to exercise can make to a person’s life.
Ron and Sheila had been members at Altrincham Leisure Centre prior to their retirement, but it was after Ron’s heart attack two years ago that they contacted Jo Cherrett, CEO of Trafford Leisure, Ron says: “Jo was wonderful. She was very responsive, and listened to our concerns and queries.”
Following on from this meeting, Jo introduced Sheila and Ron to Jenny Burton the Active Living Manager at Altrincham Leisure Centre. They were then supported through Trafford Leisure’s eight-week Physical Activity Referral Programme, which they completed before taking upa ‘Retire to Inspire’ membership.
The Physical Activity Referral Programme was developed for people to be referred to the experienced team at Trafford Leisureby their GP or other healthcare professionals. They are shown around by the Active Living Manager who will have an in-depth conversation about any specific health issues, before developing a customised 8 week programme for them. After completing the eight weeks, customers can graduate on to various other activity options.
Since becoming ambassadors for the programme, the couple are now able to sign people up to Trafford Leisure’s Physical Activity Referral Programme themselves, welcoming them to Altrincham Leisure Centre and always being that friendly face at the centre.
Ron says: “Before retirement I was very active and busy, but when you give up work it’s all too easy to stop. You lose your routine and your purpose. I’d always been a very positive person, but after my heart attack I became very despondent. It’s this despondency that forces me to come to the gym. A physical trauma, like a heart attack, builds doubt; the team at Trafford Leisure have given me my confidence back. I want to be around to watch my grandchildren grow and blossom. I don’t want my life to revolve around my armchair and watching mindless television. I want to be active, to maintain my mobility, to be able to enjoy our garden and build new vegetable beds. Too many people retire and just give up on life.”
Sheila says: “It’s been amazing to get back to Altrincham Leisure Centre. The staff and instructors are such a motivation for me… I currently participate in five classes a week, including Body Conditioning, Zumba, Total Body Work Out and Spinning, as well as an Abs session. I love the Zumba classes, the music and energy is great fun. But more importantly, I enjoy us having a structure to our daily routine. The staff at Trafford Leisure are so supportive and do really care about you. There is such a family feel to the place. I feel fantastic.” Ron echoes his wife’s sentiments, chipping in to say: “I have a reason to get up. A reason to keep going. I have an incentive for action. There’s no stopping us now.”
Ron continues: “The eight week programme is enough time for customers to feel the difference exercise can make, both physically and mentally. I’m so excited to be in a position to be able to refer people to this scheme. What an honour!”
Jenny Burton concludes: “Ron and Sheila are a wonderful couple, and I really enjoyed the opportunity to meet with them and to address their worries. I am so pleased that not only are they living life to the full, but that they will be helping the local community by becoming physical activity ambassadors. They are an inspiring, active couple, and I’m thrilled that they will be sharing their experience and enthusiasm to motivate others.”