RESIDENTS at Jargeau Court in Corsham are improving their fitness and wellbeing with the opening of a new gym.

A previously unused room now features specialist gym equipment including a treadmill, an upright bike, a recumbent bike and ergometer machine, along with some free weights and balance balls.

It was made possible thanks to a large donation from the late George Bowman. His mother-in-law Florence had lived at Jargeau Court and he used to travel from Kent with his wife to visit her.

Lynda Allen, community officer in GreenSquare’s 55+ housing team, said: “Our residents were keen to put the money towards something long-lasting. They’re often told about NHS advice on keeping fit and healthy, so when creating a gym was suggested, we thought it was a great idea.”

“I’ve lost a stone and a half,” said Graham Peaple, 66, who suggested the idea of a gym. “It’s made a real difference.”

“And it’s so handy having it right on my doorstep.

“I was already going to the local gym every day and I noticed the benefits. But it gets very expensive, so I thought something on site would be great, and allow myself and other residents to exercise.”

Margaret Grace Gray, is in her 70s and uses the gym twice a week. She also goes to a local keep-fit class. “I have only been a resident here for a year, I moved in after my husband passed away,” she said. “I like using the new gym, it is very convenient. It keeps the weight down and takes your mind off things. It makes you feel better when you’re feeling low, and the views outside are lovely too.”

The new gym has been name after Mr Bowman in recognition of his gift and residents and GreenSquare staff were delighted that his sister-in-law Meg Hall and her son Matthew, came to cut the ribbon at the official opening.

Meg said: “George was married to my eldest sister Barbara. They would have both loved this as they were really into walking and keeping active. They loved this area when they used to visit. It is great to be back here today and to look round the gym that is named after him. I think it’s brilliant; there’s a good variety of equipment too.”

Wiltshire Council staff at Springfield Community Campus provided advice on creating the fitness suite. Pulse Fitness provided the equipment and visited residents to provide a full induction when the equipment was first installed back in March.

Residents also chose to put some of the money left by Mr Bowman towards some activities and days out, including a trip to the theatre in Bath.