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Upbeat sports day

1 August 2012

On Friday 27th July, Calderdale celebrated the opening day of London 2012 with a unique sports event at North Bridge Leisure Centre, hosted by the Upbeat Scheme.

Past and Present Upbeat members aged from 4 - 79 took part in 45 sporting events, including athletics, badminton, table tennis, trampolining and gym-based trials such as rowing and cycling. The 'opening ceremony' style procession was led by Chris Green, the Official Olympic Torch Bearer. The event was opened by Dr Graham Wardman, Calderdale's Director of Public Health.

John Renshaw aged 79 suffered a stroke last year. The stroke affected the use of his legs and he was told he may not get them fully working again. After a period of physiotherapy, he was referred to Upbeat and started attending regular exercise sessions with one of Upbeats Specialist Exercise Instructors. At the Upbeat sports day, John took part in the over 50's Rowing, Cycling and Walking 'Triathlon'. He won a silver medal which was presented to him by The Mayor and Mayoress of Calderdale Cllr John Hardy and Mrs Janet Hardy.

John said afterwards,

"I'm so happy and surprised that I did that - they told me I wouldn't use my legs again and here I am with a medal! It's through the hard work of the physios and Upbeat that I've been able to do this - thanks so much to everyone".

Beverley Johnson aged 42 currently attends Upbeat where her goal is to lose weight and become fitter. She said,

"I am not one for making friends but through coming on Upbeat I have met new people, made friends with another member and now we go to the gym together whereas before I used to be a bit of couch potato. My blood sugar levels are a lot more stable which is down to the healthy eating and exercise. There was no chance that I would have entered a sports event before, but with the support of my family and Upbeat my confidence is improving so I went to the Upbeat sports event and ended up winning two medals! My family are very proud of me".

Kiana Russo aged 11 attends the Upbeat Families programme - she won medals in both trampolining and gymnastics. Her father, Stuart Russo said,

"Initially when my daughter and I were pointed to the Upbeat Families programme we were unsure. My daughter was very nervous before the first one, but was hooked thereafter, her confidence has grown so much. I too enjoyed it a lot and got to do activities that I would not normally have joined in with. The social benefits can't be stressed enough as well as it makes you realise that so many of us are in the same boat with hectic lifestyles and other complicating factors that make us think 'I would but I can't ...' I recommend the programme to anyone because it is a great learning experience run by a group of wonderful staff who make everybody feel welcome and most of all its great fun!"

Julie Stott, Calderdale's Health & Fitness Development Manager said,

"It's been an amazing day! To see these people who wouldn't normally take part in sports competitions due to their medical conditions is totally awe-inspiring. For some of the children, this is the first time they've ever taken part in a sports competition and I'm so proud to see everyone doing so well - I'm so proud to have such fantastic, highly motivated staff in the Upbeat Team".

Upbeat background information

Upbeat is an exercise and healthy lifestyles referral scheme.

The scheme runs several 'branches'. 'Upbeat Adults' - healthy weight, exercise and rehabilitation for adults with certain medical conditions including Obesity and Diabetes; 'Upbeat Families' - healthy weight and fun physical activity for families who have overweight children; 'Upbeat mums' - healthy weight and nutrition for pregnant and post-natal ladies and 'Upbeat Next Steps' - further long-term support after Upbeat.

All Upbeat courses are free of charge and run in Leisure Centres, Schools and Community Halls all over Calderdale. For more information on how to join, please call Upbeat on 01422 284411 or email

The Upbeat Scheme is funded by NHS Calderdale and operated by Calderdale Council.

Last updated: 01/08/2012