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Bob’s story gets a Taiwan audience

Brought to you by the News Guardian.
Brought to you by the News Guardian.

Although he could only recognise his name and the numbers in the article, a North Tyneside pensioner was delighted to see his efforts to keep elderly people active being printed in a newspaper from the Far East.

Bob Carpenter did not want to put his feet up after retiring and he ended up qualifying as a fitness instructor.

Bob Carpenter holds up the page of The Liberty Times that includes the story about him written by Hu Yining.

Bob Carpenter holds up the page of The Liberty Times that includes the story about him written by Hu Yining.

The Battle Hill resident goes to different venues to run sessions that include exercises and social activities.

On Wednesdays, elderly residents at Sandringham Court in Longbenton benefit from his aerobics, Tai Chi and dumbbell training, with a sing-a-long at the end.

At this location, the 76-year-old is volunteering for the Justice Prince Community Interest Company and Hu Yining is one of the helpers.

Bob said: “She is a freelance reporter and she decided to write an article about me for The Liberty Times newspaper in Taiwan, as it has a Global Observatory section.

“She went back to Taiwan recently to see her mother and brought back a copy of the newspaper.

“It was amazing to see the pictures of me surrounded by the Chinese language.”

Bob worked in the shipbuilding industry in the payroll department and for an oil-related company as wages manager and retired in 2007.

A couple of years later, he had successfully completed a gym fitness instructor course and exercises to music course at Newcastle College and started running sit down exercise sessions.

The other venues he goes to include Cedar Grove Day Centre in Wallsend, Rudyerd Court in North Shields and North Shields Library, volunteering for Age UK North Tyneside.

He will receive an Age Takes Centre Stage award from the charity later this month.

Bob’s wife of 54 years, Anne, helps him at some of the sessions. He enjoys spending his spare time with his 14 grandchildren and 22 great-grandchildren (another two are on their way).

He said: “I still wanted to be active when I retired and one of the trainers at the gym I went to said I would be more approachable to elderly people because of my age.

“Physical, social and mental well-being are all important and so I incorporate each of them into my sessions.”