Gym going gran is Rae of hope

Wynne Rae pictured with fitness manager Paul Adams.
Wynne Rae pictured with fitness manager Paul Adams.

GETTING fit will be top of a lot of people’s new year resolution lists.

I was struggling to keep up with the energetic grandma as she went from exercise to exercise while talking about the importance of fitness.

The Hartlepool mum of three and grandma of four said: “I don’t feel my age. I forget how old I am otherwise I would get frightened about it.

“It’s important I exercise to keep my mind and body active. If you sit at home and don’t do anything you have a thousand worries on your mind.

“I always say to my friends that you have to move. Even if you don’t want to do anything too energetic, you can still do a few basic things and keep yourself mobile.”

Beaming Wynne, who lives in the Hart Lane area of Hartlepool, never stopped smiling as she recounted her long history of being active.

She joined her first fitness class at just 15 after going to school at Jesmond Road and Elwick Road and was instructing by the time she was 18 while studying at Hartlepool Technical College.

In 1949 she visited Sweden’s capital Stockholm for the 40th anniversary of the Lingiad, a gymnastic festival that saw 1,000 representatives travel to the city from Britain.

Wynne, who was one of 12 to represent the region in a team of 192 British competitors, then went from Sweden to Denmark to visit a gymnastics college and learn more techniques.

Wynne said: “Looking back I feel I was so lucky to have taken part in the Lingiad. I have never forgotten that unique festival of movement, dance and gymnastics.”

Even her admin job at Richardson & Westgarth did not hold her back as she took up running with the company’s club and met every morning for exercise at Tunstall Court.

She went on to work for Siemens and Anchor Housing before retiring aged 69.

Wynne, who is mum to Stephen, 56, Andrew, 44, and Janet, 51, has also played bowls for Grayfields Ladies and was one of the first people to practice yoga in the town after learning about the discipline more than 20 years ago.

“I have always been very active and have never wondered what to do as I was always doing something,” said Wynne who lost her husband John 18 years ago when he was 70.

“It is a big part of who I am and I feel it has kept me young, healthy and happy.”

Wynne has now been a member at Springs, on Hartlepool Marina, for the last 10 years and still goes to the gym each Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday – and even sometimes pops in for a swim on a weekend.

Her three-hour sessions see her enjoy some brisk exercise on the machines, a gentle swim in the pool and then a cup of tea and a bite to eat with her friends.

Wynne, who is grandma to Daniel, 20, Zoe, 17, Dean, 20, and Greg, 18, said: “Exercise is not just about keeping fit but about the social aspect as well.

“I really enjoy seeing everyone and sharing a joke and having a chat. When I get home it’s often my jaw that aches from talking so much.

“I couldn’t imagine not having the gym and not seeing everyone. It is a big and important part of my life.”

Paul Adams, fitness manager at Springs who has known Wynne for the last decade, added: “Wynne always has a smile on her face and is always full of energy.

“She is a group of five or six that all get together in the morning and get their exercise done and have a bit of fun.

“It’s great to see and it really shows that keeping fit can keep you young.”