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Mary Laing, 80

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Age is no barrier to keeping fit and active - that is the message from an 80-year-old Beverley woman who has been attending her local leisure centre for over a decade and has no plans to stop now.

Mary Laing, who has regularly attended East Riding Leisure Beverley since the facility opened over a decade ago, is a firm believer in gentle exercise being the best way to remain young at heart.

Now Mary, who has had a go at most of the sports and classes available including Pilates, the tone zone, badminton, keep fit and aqua aerobics, wants to encourage more older people to give it a go and enjoy the benefits.

Mary said: 'Exercise leads to fitness and health, and I'm a firm believer in the principle of use it or lose it. Exercising regularly has definitely kept me healthy and fit through the years and it has also helped me to make friends.

'There are classes to suit everyone and you don't need to wear any expensive gym kit, all you need is a pair of trainers.'

Mary, who also helps to care for her disabled husband, works out at a pace and level she feels comfortable with and says she has always been made to feel welcome and at ease.

'Age or size really doesn't matter; there is no need for anyone to feel embarrassed. There's a lovely, friendly and supportive atmosphere,'' she added.

East Riding Leisure offers a wide range of classes, activities and sporting opportunities to East Riding residents, regardless of age or ability.

Councillor Richard Burton, the council's portfolio holder for civic wellbeing and culture, said: 'We really do have an excellent range of facilities available through East Riding Leisure to help people get fit, stay active or just have fun and socialise.

'Mary is a perfect example of someone who has taken full advantage of the fantastic classes and sports facilities that we have available at East Riding Leisure Beverley, where people can make the most of the latest equipment available to boost their health and well being in a relaxed and friendly setting.

'I would encourage anyone like Mary to give it a go, attend their local leisure centre and discover just how our teams of fitness instructors can help you to improve your fitness levels, make new friends, and maybe even discover a passion for exercise.'

Older People's Day takes place on 1 October to coincide with the United Nations International Day of Older Persons.

Under the banner 'Full of Life' the campaign aims to celebrate the achievements of older people, highlight the challenges that people face as they get older, and tackle outdated stereotypes and negative attitudes often associated with older people.