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Ron le Blanc, 77, was hospitalised for two weeks in July after contracting pneumonia, followed by sepsis. Now recovered, he’s back at Saltash Leisure Centre for his regular three-times-a-week sessions – convinced that keeping fit for the last nine years has helped save his life.

“He was really ill but couldn’t wait to get back to the gym because we both love the exercise and fully believe in its benefits,” said Ron’s wife, Margaret, 74. “As far as we’re concerned, it’s been a life-saver.”

The couple started going to the leisure centre, run by charitable social enterprise provider GLL on behalf of Cornwall Council, in 2010.

“I’d just had my first hip replacement and was feeling really fed up,” said Margaret. “I went to the doctor who suggested going to the local gym. He wrote to the team there, I went along for an assessment and I can honestly say I’ve never looked back.”

Since that first introduction, Margaret has had her other hip and a knee replaced too. 

“It hasn’t stopped me using the equipment and working out – something I never used to do when I was working,” she said. “I felt really nervous to start with, thinking I was the wrong shape and too old but, from the moment Ron and I walked through the door, we felt comfortable and welcome. All the staff are as good as gold and couldn’t be more helpful. They have never made us feel silly for not knowing how to do something and are always there, in a subtle way, when we need assistance.

“We have made some good friends amongst the other members and always have a good laugh when we’re at the gym. It’s no exaggeration to say that the leisure centre team have become like a second family. We can’t recommend keeping fit enough.”

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