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Branston gyms is home for Neville, 86, as he rows his way to keeping fit and healthy

By Burton Mail  |  Posted: July 10, 2014

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AN 86-year-old man has revealed that he keeps himself fit and healthy by waking up at 6am to go rowing - after breaking a world rowing record in his Burton gym more than 25 year ago.

Neville Jordan, from South Derbyshire, is a regularly spotted three times a week at Branston Golf and Country Club’s gym making sure he remains in tip top condition.

Mr Jordan has a strong affinity with rowing after breaking the two 2,000-metre rowing record at aged 70 at the site, off Fairway, in 1998.

He said: “I wake early so coming to Branston gets me going, the gym team’s social skills and friendliness of the club where I meet my mates is a big attraction and it beats gardening, glaring at the cat and babysitting.”

The former research and development worker at Rolls Royce who proofed foundry castings until retiring at 72 was a keen basketball player for nearly 40 years in the Sherwood League with the then Derby Technical College when that team beat London Polytechnic at RAF Cosford to win the national basketball championships in 1957.

A knee injury forced Mr Jordan to change to volley ball where he coached and played for the Derby Caravan Club team leading them to win another national championship while still keeping his love for basketball alive by refereeing and in the summer playing cricket for Rolls Royce.

He said: “Shortly after moving to the area in the 1980s, a flyer announcing the new Branston club came through our door and after looking at other gyms we came for a tour round.

“Branston’s gym was a building site but when we sat for a coffee admiring the view of the 18th fairway my wife said ‘this is the place for us’ and I’ve been coming ever since.”

Mr Jordan’s rowing achievement came when he spotted that the current world record for 2,000 meters was eight minutes and eight seconds.

“I knew nothing about rowing in the gym but as I was quite fit I found by just pulling the handle backwards and forwards I could set a decent time,” he said.

“Then Phil Mead, Branston club’s personal trainer, showed me how to do it properly and I took up the challenge beating the record by two seconds so at 70 I was a world record holder.”

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