Page 1


The Gym Gazette A B I L I T Y B O W G Y M N E W S L E T T E R   A U T U M N   2 0 1 8

Amazing Albie At Big Fun Run

Wheelchair to walking Albie and our team excel at Big Fun Run 7

Meet Rod Douglas  Meet wheelchair to walking ex-gold medal pro boxer and gym user, Rod Douglas  10

PLUS: Meet Our Members

Prudential RideLondon

We celebrate our totally super RideLondon charity cyclists 13

George's Orchestral Hit

New Trustee

Inside This Issue COMMUNITY  8 Sports Stars Visit Our Gym  Ex-footballer and boxer Leon McKenzie and current snowboarder James BarnesMiller visit our gym community


12 Bow In The Borough

15 Meet Our Members 

Find out how we're connecting you with local exercise services including new Positive Steps sessions

Read about how our members are making some life-changing recoveries through our service

17 Catching Up With: Lorna Ex-Ability Bow PR pro Lorna tells us about her latest venture

18 We Need You: Volunteer! 19 Vital Volunteers

20 What's On In Bow From Roman Road Trust to WellOne, we've got the lowdown on the latest community activities in Bow

EXTRAS 5    Photo Gallery  6, 9 News  14   Quizzes and Prizes 2

Find out about our gym at The Gym Gazette

Director's Update


Super Supporters I've been reflecting on how super our fantastic fundraisers and supporters are. Looking back over recent fundraising Our director Victoria (centre) events, they're a really hardy bunch. at our recent open day. This includes the Prudential RideLondon where on an unseasonably bracing Sunday, Chris and Ray cycled 100 miles in torrential rain to raise nearly £1,850 for Ability Bow. In our purple waterproofs, staff and volunteers decorated Green Park trees with purple Ability Bow bunting, displayed our banners and wore our giant purple backpack flags; and we enjoyed a picnic while waiting for our sensational cyclists Chris and Ray, to finish the race. Thank you guys; how you both managed 5 hours 50 minutes in those conditions is amazing. Your funds really greatly aid our specialist disability gym service!


Dynamic Director: Victoria Kent Outstanding Operations Manager: Si Mohamed Dahiri Fabulous Fitness Instructors: Patrick Trotman Sarah Hall-Craggs Tony Snook Remarkable Receptionists: Frankie Joseph Vital Volunteers: Michael Berry Sabina Khatun Tim O'Flaherty And: Stuart Wilson!

Find out about our gym at The Gym Gazette

Fantastic Fun Runners The October Big Fun Run was another example of how far gym members, like our amazing Albie (see page 7), are prepared to go to raise money towards our service. You'll read in this newsletter how Albie, who has incurable cancer, completed the race with our staff and volunteers; walking an impressive 5k. I walked with the very personable Albie and couldn't help but be humbled by his positive mentality and indomitable spirit. With his stick and balance challenges, Albie's every step was tricky. He was determined to finish the race and did with style; even turning down a well-meaning shortcut from marshals which would remove 100m from his walk. Our staff and volunteers participated too to raise funds for our charity. Notably, instructor Tony's daughters took off at a fast pace and kept their Dad on his toes until the race's end. Everyone mucked in to


support this event and all went home with smiles on their faces. A true sense of collaboration is our special strength I think. Volunteer Cheer Like many charities we couldn't do what we do without our vital volunteers (see pages 18/19). We really appreciate the skills, time and energy brought to our team by volunteer staff members. Over the coming months we will be developing an exciting new volunteer programme; and thanks to a Big Lottery Fund grant we will employ a part-time volunteer coordinator to help us roll this out. Watch this space for developments and if you're interested in the role, get in touch! Ability Bow gym Director & Founder Victoria Kent

Find out about our gym at The Gym GazetteÂ

Photo Gallery Extended Exercise Open Day Prudential RideLondon INCLUDES: Our team of staff and supporters

OUR BOARD   Andrew Byron Bal Kullar Chirag Desai Colin O'Connor Fred Baron Graham Watson Brown Harriet Vernon Nicki Heflet Sharron Currie Siobhan Lanigan


Stroke Group NeuroAbiity Join In DeafAbility Fit For Life Find more of our projects at: activities

FIND US St Paul's Church, St Stephen's Road, Bow, London, E3 5JL


The Gym Gazette

News From The Gym George Scores Music Hit Thanks Trustees

George Roberts (front right) playing the Clarion Our awesome member living with cerebral palsy, George Roberts, has been invited to join the world's first disabled-musician youth-led orchestra. George, who's already won an award with the South West Open Youth Orchestra (SWOYO), joins the National Open Youth Orchestra this month, after performing for BBC Music Day to more than two million BBC Radio 3 listeners. Winning a Learning & Participation Award for SWOYO in 2017, George plays the innovative Clarion with his forehead. Read more at


It's a busy time for our gym's trustees; as we welcome one new member, Andrew Byron and say a fond farewell to longstanding personnel, Nigel Newton Sawyer and Nicola Morris. As trustees for several years, Nigel and Nicola have provided 'invaluable input', according to our director, Victoria Kent. Nigel will focus on work and family commitments and both he and Nicola will continue to support our gym informally. Andrew joins us with digital services experience at health experts BUPA; great to welcome him here!

Find out about our gym at The Gym GazetteÂ

Wheelchair To Walking Albie In Ability Bow Big Fun Run Triumph An Ability Bow gym member living with incurable multiple myeloma cancer completed his fourth Big Fun Run on Sunday 28 October as part of the super Team Ability Bow (who are looking for your support to raise at least ÂŁ1,000 overall towards creating our new one-toone long-term exercise service!

Albie, 57, a former choreographer and professional dancer, has progressed greatly at our gym by moving from being in a wheelchair for 14 months to walking again.

Victoria Kent, our gym's founder and director, said: "Thanks to you and our amazing Team Ability Bow fun runners/walkers/joggers; Albie Ollivierre - alongside 8 other any funds you can donate to help members on the day including our people like Albie feel fitter and gym's new trustee Andrew Dyson - stronger for longer is invaluable! completed the 5k route in Victoria Park all for our disabilities and You can donate at: long term health conditions, or, rehabilitation gym. hand any funds into our reception.


Find out about our gym at The Gym GazetteÂ

Sensational Sports Stars Visit Our Gym Sensational sports stars James Barnes-Miller and Leon McKenzie have visited our Ability Bow gym this year to see our service in action. Barnes-Miller, 28 - a 2018 Great Britain Winter Paralympics snowboarding team member - and McKenzie, 40 - a former Premier League footballer and British Super Middleweight boxer - were given a tour of our gym in July and September respectively and met our highly-qualified advanced fitness instructor team.

who first began snowboarding in 2010 after a holiday to Bulgaria, said: "Ability Bow are doing some really great work for people with disabilities and long-term health conditions and I'm really looking forward to becoming more involved where I can."

Leon, who works at recovery organisations including Life After Professional Sport and is the son of famous pro boxer Clinton McKenzie, said: "Seeing Ability Bow's fantastic staff and members makes me positive big things can be achieved together Born without a right hand, James, to help people thrive even more."


Find out about our gym at The Gym GazetteÂ

NewsFrom FromThe TheGym Gym News Gym Member TV Fame Wheelchair Exercise Our existing wheelchair user gym members can soon benefit from new wheelchair-specific Wheelfit exercise classes. Our members gave some perfect pieces to camera when London Live featured us on TV in August. Discussing the aim to create a new longer-term one-to-one service for disabled people with more complex needs past an initial 12 weeks, Nathan Giraudel, Christine Lilley, Khalid Pervez and former member Richard Amm gave some positive accounts of our gym to reporter Ellie Cunningham. Nathan, who's gone from wheelchair to walking following an acquired brain injury, said he 'wouldn't be here today', without Ability Bow's support. To watch the video on London Live, visit:


Aiming to run this month, those on our waiting list and who've completed their 12 week initial gym sessions have the chance to join the 10 week-long classes (which have an £8 joining fee and a £4.50 class fee thereafter). Criteria to join will be based on which wheelchair users instructors feel may benefit from classes based on need after a fitness assessment. To find out more, email:

Find out about our gym at The Gym Gazette

Meet Rod Douglas: Wheelchair To Walking For Ex-Pro Boxer Rod Douglas has been at the highest levels in boxing. A British 1986 Commonwealth Games gold medallist, he says the experience was second to none.

Rod says: "Competing in the Olympics was incredible. I was only fighting for a medal, but everyone there made it a fantastic atmosphere. I'll never forget it."

"It was amazing representing my country and since then, mostly when I'm in shops in Bow, I'm recognised and treated like a God which is really humbling," says Rod.

Albeit, one of Rod's most challenging times came just last year. Experiencing a lifethreatening brain injury in 1989 shortly after a British title fight loss to follow boxing legend Herol Graham, remnants of Rod's mixed health resurfaced in May 2017 when he had a stroke.

Also appearing at the 1984 Olympic Games quarter-finals beaten by Canadian fighter, Shawn O'Sullivan in Los Angeles, Rushed to hospital, Rod says he would 'have been dead' had his Rod has certainly experienced close friend Svetlana not quickly the highs boxing can offer.


Find out about our gym at The Gym GazetteÂ

called an ambulance. "I'm so thankful to be here and through my friends and family, I've used my strength to pull through and progress, including at Ability Bow," says Rod. Following his stint in hospital, Rod spent last summer in a wheelchair, before gradually walking again more often; also thanks to the work Rod's achieved at our Ability Bow gym. "Being at Ability Bow is an amazing experience. I could've been at lots of gyms, but Tony (one of Ability Bow's advanced fitness instructors), supports me every week and has given me hope. To be able to walk again even if not all the time, is amazing." Attending for a weekly one hour session, Rod works on our gym bike for 15 minutes, before mixing exercise on a stepper with treadmill bouts. He's also no stranger to giving back to the


Rod training at our gym during his session Tower Hamlets community, with a past stint supporting kids for four years to learn to box at the former Arches - now K.O. gym in Bethnal Green. "I was at the K.O. for the love of it and I never wanted to be paid a penny for what I did," Rod adds. Rod definitely shows himself to be at the heart of his community. So why is Ability Bow so much within Rod's own heart? "What's great about being at Ability Bow is it's a great little family and It helps me feel better every day," Rod says. Read the full story online at:

Find out about our gym at The Gym GazetteÂ

Bow In The Borough

We've once again been making more community connections to help get you closer to facilities and services within the borough.

have enjoyed our new partner sessions at City and Hackney Recovery College (running every Wednesday from 2-3pm at just ÂŁ2 per session).

Developing links with our Clarion Extended Exercise clients and Tower Hamlets wellbeing partners such as Roman Road Trust, DeafPlus and Poplar Harca, our Open Day last month saw 50 guests gain a snapshot of what's on locally.

We've also sampled the outdoors as part of our Urban Gym sessions in June, when a group of Fit For Life participants got to try exercise equipment and activities at Wennington Green; ranging from weights to basketball and football.

Additionally, as part of our Positive Steps project, members

Find out more about our projects at


Find out about our gym at The Gym GazetteÂ

Super Cyclists Raise Amidst Rain In Prudential RideLondon Race Two terrific charity riders tackled tricky conditions during the Prudential RideLondon-Surrey 100 charity bike race on Sunday 29 July 2018 as part of their fantastic fundraising pledges for our Ability Bow gym; generating ÂŁ1,832 in funding for our service. Former financier Ray Fielding and teacher Chris Graves (pictured above centre, with Ray left and Chris right) navigated their way past London's most iconic landmarks and splendid Surrey countryside amidst a torrential downpour of one month's worth of rain; with both still finishing impressively in 5 hours and 50 minutes each.

have acquired years of cycling experience and took on the 100 mile challenge this year to help our gym's aim of generating funding for the creation of a new long-term one-to-one support service; dedicated to aiding our members with complex health needs like MS or brain injuries. Meeting Ability Bow supporters in Green Park post-race, Ray said: "It's been a tough race yet the rewards are worth it for this fantastic gym and Chris and I are just happy to get across the line."

Ability Bow's Director and Founder, Victoria Kent, added: "I'm so proud of Ray and Chris and the efforts they've gone to Essex based friends Ray and Chris help our service; fantastic!"


Find out about our gym at The Gym GazetteÂ

Quizzes and Prizes It's time for the RANDOM Ability Bow general knowledge quiz! A goodie bag is on offer for one each of three lucky people (drawn at random who take part! 5: How many vowels are there in the alphabet? 6: Which famous French painter is known for his Water Lillies picture? 7: Which London football club has Or hand your answers in at our won 5 Premier League titles? Ability Bow reception if you're a 8: Which writer - who is well-known for writing Poirot and Miss Marple member! is known as the best-selling female author? THE QUIZ QUESTIONS 9: Is a tomato a vegetable or fruit? 1: Which artist scored a UK 10: Which famous US boxer was number 1 hit with Shaddap Ya famously known as Cassius Clay? Face in 1981? 2: How many months of the year Submit your answers by Friday 14 December (your answers will then have 31 days in them? 3: Who does Nicholas Lyndhurst be drawn out of a hat and we'll play in Only Fools and Horses? contact you to arrange giving you 4: What's Australia's capital city? your prize). Best of luck everyone! For a chance to win, answer the questions below, send your name and answers via email to


Find out about our gym at The Gym GazetteÂ

Meet Our Members Our marvellous members always delight us with their achievements. We meet Christine and Ken Lilley, and, Richard Palmer, who give their reasons as to why they love our gym.

For the east London originating pair, Christine and Ken are fully aware that of all their anecdotes, their own stories have become an ongoing narrative of 'can-do' and sheer persistence.

Christine and Ken Lilley are two siblings always likely to raise a smile and share a story or two.

Diagnosed with hereditary spastic paraplegia (HSP) in 2014 and 2015 respectively, this left Christine and Ken, 58, unsure where to get vital support.

"We've always got some good stories to tell, including one about our former vicar on the Isle of Dogs, John Dennis, whose son Peter once attended Sunday School at our local church," says Christine, 60. "Peter is now better known as Hugh Dennis from Outnumbered and Mock The Week!"


"I was left with few options for enhancing my life after my diagnosis, so since joining Ability Bow, it's been so helpful and it's more than just a gym," Ken says. "Being here is one of the few chances I have to get out for the day; it's a great community here."

Find out about our gym at The Gym GazetteÂ

Christine adds: "I remember feeling soul-destroyed after being diagnosed with HSP and initially felt low and isolated. "So I asked my GP to refer me to Ability Bow and the benefits are incredible and are something special." It's not only Christine and Ken who find our gym a special place. Richard Palmer, 54, is another member keen to praise our gym. Living with an autism spectrum condition and severe obstructive sleep apnoea - which can make his heart stop beating - Richard says being part of our gym enables him to be more visible. "Practically, being at Ability Bow has enabled me to manage my weight far better and become more active, but it's also developed my social confidence. "Albeit, if anyone ever sees me


appearing quiet at the gym, I don't mean to be rude - so please feel free to chat, as it's just part of living with my condition and a challenge with starting small talk; but being here is vastly helping to change that stigma towards mental health" Richard says. Indeed, Richard has put his mental and physical health experiences to brilliant use. He says using our gym has been key in him gaining an expertby-experience focused Trainer of the Year Award in September, for his contribution to the Tower Hamlets Autism Service and Community Healthcare Trust. "I can't take it all in, but Ability Bow deserves a lot of credit." Read our member stories in full at:

Find out about our gym at The Gym GazetteÂ

Catching Up With: Lorna Remember Lorna Dorrell? She used to perform vital reception and marketing/communications roles at our gym! She's now at limbless veterans charity, Blesma, as communications manager; so we thought we'd get the latest on her new venture! Where are you based: I work at Chadwell Heath for Blesma who have many UK support workers and global members too! What's your career background: I studied Art History at Goldsmiths Uni, before working at a private health clinic. I then joined Ability Bow in 2010. How much did you enjoy working here: I knew the first time I visited the gym it was special; where members' needs are paramount, staff have a genuine understanding of people and it all makes for a happy atmosphere. What were your highlights with us: Working with people's always


suited me. I have very fond memories of organising the amazing Brick Lane Village fete and many other great projects; as well as making many firm friends. How much do you enjoy your role at Blesma: It's my first encounter with the military world so it's a real learning curve. The military mindset is very unique and fascinating. Veterans have a great resilience and bond and Blesma try to recover that sense of family after traumatic injury. What hobbies/interests do you have: I still enjoy art and visit galleries a few times a month. I'm also a huge music fan so regular gigs are a big part of my life. I also run when I can and do yoga.

Find out about our gym at The Gym GazetteÂ

We Need You! Become A Gym Volunteer!

Our InstructAbility volunteer Emma Alexander

Trustee Andrew Byron

Do you have any spare time? Want to feel great, make a difference, meet new people and learn new skills? Well we're on the lookout for people to run, raise - and even refurb - for our gym!


Our inclusive gym offers the chance to learn vital new skills. Whether it be meeting/greeting and answering the phones on reception, or offering your time as a volunteer instructor to our gym members, you can do it!


Signing Up To sign up to one of our roles; contact us by, emailing:, or, phone: 020 8980 7778.

Find out about our gym at The Gym Gazette

Vital Volunteers As part of our increased volunteering focus, we thought we'd take the time to showcase how much we value our volunteers; and highlight how they get involved at our gym too day-to-day! Our vital volunteers help make us who we are! Emma Alexander - who is a wheelchair racer currently training for the Paralympics - provides exercise support via the InstructAbility programme to one of our members. Sabina Khatun, offers reception support to us. Both explain why they love volunteering for us at Ability Bow!

to achieve their goals and targets."

Sabina says: I first found Ability Bow online. When I first heard of the gym, it was the first time I saw somewhere so unique where disabled people in their community could Emma says: "I have become much benefit. I wanted to be part more confident when delivering of something so positive. sessions here. Whenever I get stuck, I My daily reception role always ask for help and get great involves greeting clients support from the team. It's brilliant to and assisting with sign-ins. get more new experience and a chance I've picked up some great to develop my fitness industry communication skills and knowledge. What's great about being at developed my confidence. Ability Bow is that they'll always help Read the full stories at: and support clients in any way they can


Find out about our gym at The Gym GazetteÂ

What's On In Bow Our friends at Bow Haven are running a FREE mental health awareness exhibition featuring pieces from their Art+ Group. When: The 'In A Different Light' exhibition starts from Wednesday 14 November, 1pm. Where: Albion Health Centre, 333 Whitechapel Road, London, E1 1BU. Find out more: Visit or email:

Roman Road Trust seek community volunteers. Find out more online at:


Explore many great healthy living & exercise activities just for you across Tower Hamlets at WellOne. See more at: Find out about our gym at The Gym GazetteÂ

Profile for doober88

Ability Bow Gym Gazette Autum Newsletter November 2018  

The Ability Bow gym's newsletter in e-book format for Autumn 2018.

Ability Bow Gym Gazette Autum Newsletter November 2018  

The Ability Bow gym's newsletter in e-book format for Autumn 2018.

Profile for doober88

Recommendations could not be loaded

Recommendations could not be loaded

Recommendations could not be loaded

Recommendations could not be loaded