Keith Skipper launches Great Massingham outdoor gym

Norfolk squit merchant Keith Skipper said he was the obvious choice to open a new outdoor gym in Great Massingham, near King's Lynn, this weekend.

As he stretched, toned and got his heart racing on the rowing machine and exercise bike, the writer and broadcaster said: 'This is what happens if you don't eat your greens and exercise regularly.'

Mr Skipper was at the Great Massingham Duck Fest, a fete taking place at the village hall all day yesterday (Saturday).

While there, he launched the new �39,000 outdoor fitness centre which has been funded by the Big Lottery's Community Spaces fund and had a go himself.

He said: 'When I was a boy the village itself was the outdoor gymnasium – everyone walked or biked. Keeping fit came naturally. Unfortunately now, this kind of facility is necessary.

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'I'm living proof that once you stop exercising, it's difficult to pick these things up again. I might move to Great Massingham to take advantage of this facility.'

With the support of the local doctors' surgery, a team of organisers including project leader Andrew Bickerton spent a year securing funding for the equipment.

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Now installed and in use for the first time on Saturday, they hope the outdoor gym will encourage villagers – from teenagers to pensioners – to get fit in the fresh air.

Mr Bickerton added: 'We're not just putting it in and leaving it. Thanks to a �2,700 sustainability grant, we are going to be running six different classes with a professional instructor, including Get Back into Shape for young mums and Young at Heart for older people.

'They can come up and learn how to use the equipment for their particular needs.'

Today's Duck Fest is taking over the village hall and green for the whole day with games and activities including It's Knock Out, a dog show, stalls, a bar and barbecue, and a disco in the evening.

All money raised will go to the Ducklings play group, which organised the event, and other village organisations.

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