Man who beat depression and almost drowned opens new gym in Norfolk market town

PUBLISHED: 11:30 20 March 2018 | UPDATED: 16:56 20 March 2018

Olly Kimber, who is fighting back after being taken ill while swimming. Picture: Olly Kimber

Olly Kimber, who is fighting back after being taken ill while swimming. Picture: Olly Kimber


Despite his positive outlook, Olly Kimber has not always had the easiest life.

Whilst at university studying sports science his best friend died, a few years later he became homeless, was suffering with depression, and was living on his Dad’s sofa. In 2017, he almost drowned whilst swimming in a Norfolk pool.

But the 27-year-old had drawn together an ‘attraction board’ piecing together where he’d like to see his life go, on there was his own gymnasium.

A year later, he was gifted the old post office building in Aylsham along with his business partner, and will be opening the business next week.

Mr Kimber said: “I was with my friend the whole day before he committed suicide, and afterwards I did a lot of research into psychology and realised how much exercise can benefit mental health. So when I myself was suffering the depression I realised there was something I could do about it, I could just go on a run.

“Our gym is both somewhere for people to get fit and lose weight if they want to, but it’s also an open environment where they can talk about these things. I’ll be running a ‘Boga’ class which can help people suffering with mental illness because the boxing can really help you get it out and the yoga afterwards can help you unwind.”

he added: “Every session will end with a stretch and meditation, and we want to teach people that so they can use it in the gym or in their own time instead of needing to come to a class for it.”

Mr Kimber, who lives in Cromer, was pulled unconscious from the bottom of a swimming pool having being submerged for six and a half minutes last year.

His survival hung on a knife edge, but he has recovered well.

“Almost dying just showed how we don’t know our own strength,” he said.

The gym will be opening this week for some taster sessions, so that people can see whether they enjoy the classes.

“We’ve got a studio/gym upstairs,” said Mr Kimber. “And then downstairs we’ve got a suite where we can meet personal training clients.

“There’s a lot of out buildings, about four or five, which are joined to the site so in the future we’d like to make those part of the site. We could extend the gym and have sports massage therapists working out of the outbuildings and offer that service too.”

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