A 74 year old triathlete who is in training for the world championships has taken on a new role.
Peter Norman has been appointed as the first ever Ambassador for Older People at the Eagles Meadow shopping centre in Wrexham.
It is believed that Eagles Meadow is the first shopping centre in the UK to have an older person’s ambassador.
The initiative has been welcomed by Age Concern, who campaign to improve later life through our information and advice, campaigns, products, training and research.
Peter is encouraging older people to get out and about and take advantage of the Silver Savers Day scheme at Eagles Meadow.
Every Tuesday pensioners are able to park for just £2 all day, with a valid voucher, and there are a host of deals on offer including 50% off bowling at Tenpin and a seat in the Odeon Cinema costing just £3 as well as big savings at stores such as Boots.
Age Concern North East Wales Chief Executive Officer Margaret Hansonsaid: “I’m really pleased to see Eagles Meadow operating a scheme that has so many benefits for older people.
“Social inclusion is a big issue and anything that gives older people the opportunity to get out and about and socialise has to be a good thing.”
Peter, who is tackling his next Iron Man Triathlon in Lanzarote in May at which he hopes to qualify for the World Championships in Hawaii in October, says older people need to keep active and meeting up with friends can be just as important as physical exercise.
He said: “I hear lots of older people saying they can’t do this or that as their knees have gone or hips aren’t up to it. But I went through a period like that and you just have to see it through.
“I did my knee in doing something as daft as dancing the twist at a party. I spent weeks doing a bit more each day until I got it right. You just have to keep going.”
Peter, of Tai Nant near Penycae, who has a daily training regime that would leave the majority of teenagers floundering, added: “What a great idea though to come to Eagles Meadow and have a game of ten pin bowling or to watch a film with friends.
“I think it is brilliant older people are being catered for in this way and I’m certainly going to be visiting Eagles Meadow on a regular basis.”
Peter, who didn’t start running until he was 50, says he doesn’t think taking part in Iron Man Triathlon events is anything special.
He said: “So long as you build up to it there’s no problem. An Iron Man Triathlon involves a 2.4 mile open water swim, a 112 mile bike ride and full 26.2 mile marathon. There is no break in between the component events and you have to finish in under 17 hours.
“I usually bank on finishing in between 15 and 16 hours. The worst is when its windy particularly during the swim which is in the sea, that can be really tough.”
Peter has already amassed a seriously impressive array of titles for his age class, including English Fell Running Champion, UK Iron Man Champion and World Iron Man Champion.
Eagles Meadow Manager Kevin Critchley said: “I’m delighted that we have been able to take the lead in championing the cause of older people.
“Wales was the first part of the UK to appoint an older person’s Commissioner and we believe we are the first to appoint an older person’s Ambassador, something of which we are proud.”