100 good reasons to exercise

23 November 2012

Chelsea resident Dorothy Patrick celebrated her 100th birthday in October with a weeklong flurry of activities with family and friends but she did not let the celebrations prevent her attending her weekly exercise class at the New Horizons Centre.

Dorothy started attending the exercise class at 98 years young after being recommended to take it up by a hospital physiotherapist following a fall.

"It is difficult to say how beneficial it all is but I would recommend the class to anyone. We've a really good teacher and spend 55 minutes exercising to music. She's very clever and gets us to exercise all our muscles," Dorothy explained.

"When I was young I did a lot of walking and also played tennis but you did not consciously exercise in those days," she added.

She attributes her longevity to enjoying life." Apart from the tragedy of losing my husband I have had a very happy life. I gave up smoking with great difficulty at 73 because my second husband did not like it and asked me to stop."

Dorothy's first husband John Symons died in the Second World War in 1944 just after her second daughter was born.

After her husband's death Dorothy lived in Battersea for nine years with her two young daughters before moving to Chelsea in 1954 where she still lives. She has five grand children and eight great grand children. She remarried when she was 66 years old but after eight and half years her second husband Noel Patrick died.

"I had an incredible birthday, the main celebration was a family event at the Cavalry and Guards Club. My actual birthday was on Sunday 28 October and I went to my church, St Mary in the Boltons, and unbeknown to me one of the great grandchildren tied a helium balloon to the back of my pew for everyone to see."

In spite of turning 100, Dorothy continues to enjoy an active social life as well as going to her exercise classes at New Horizons. She enjoys attending the Christ Church Fellowship, listening to classical music, watching television and reading.

Cllr Fiona Buxton, Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care, said: "I wish Dorothy hearty congratulations on her 100th birthday. I'm delighted that she is able to enjoy the activities offered by the New Horizons Centre. Dorothy's is an example to us all and proof that you are never old to take up exercise."

New Horizons Centre Cadogon Street, SW3 is a multi activity centre offering varied weekly activities for those aged 50 and over. It is delivered by a consortium of three charities, Open Age (lead), Age UK Kensington and Chelsea and the Guinness Trust, in partnership with the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea and the NHS Kensington and Chelsea.