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University Recognises Achievements of Seniors Who Keep Active

An 82-year-old man has received a special award from the University of Worcester for outstanding commitment to keeping active.

Worcester resident Godfrey Harvey is the first recipient of the Helen Sandison Award for Enduring Spirit.

This new annual award is given to a member of the University’s senior fitness community as part of its Worcester Senior Games event to recognise someone who goes that extra mile to engage in competitive sport.

Mr Harvey, of Northwick, is one of dozens who are involved in the University of Worcester’s Senior Programme (60 plus years) for Physical Activity and Adapted Sport.

Students, supervised by specialist staff, coaches and instructors, run a number of sport sessions adapted to suit those aged 60 and above, including adapted badminton, gym sessions, indoor cricket, short mat bowls, seated exercise and walking football, basketball and netball.

Participants also help students and staff with research, taking part in focus groups, surveys and practical testing.

The University launched an annual Senior Games last year, which sees over 60s compete for medals in a number of adapted sports.

The Helen Sandison Award is awarded by the organising committee to a person playing sport well into their senior years, who is judged to have shown a competitive edge, sportsmanship, enjoyment of sport as a player and spectator, and is a good role model for other seniors.

Mr Harvey, who built and owned a number of golf establishments during his career and ran Lower Wick Swimming Pool until his retirement, keeps fit with badminton, swimming and gym sessions.

“I’m honoured and I was dumbfounded when they gave this to me,” he said.

After suffering a cardiac arrest, Mr Harvey said he had noticed how being unable to exercise for a long period had affected his health and stressed how important it was to try to build up and constantly maintain your fitness.

“It’s absolutely essential to keep active, to keep everything moving,” he added.

Dr Susie Hart, the University’s Director of Sport Partnerships and Community Engagement, said: “That Godfrey is still competing into his 80s shows a great positive mental attitude to life – he is still getting involved and adapting the way he competes to enable him to continue playing sport.

“Academic colleagues and I are using feedback from participating members to build examples of good practice and inform others of how we can adapt and keep people active in their later years. An aim is for this programme to contribute to a Master’s degree in Physical Activity and Successful Ageing.”

Anyone over 60 interested in getting involved in the Senior’s Programme should contact s.hart@worc.ac.uk.