Ex-soldier still fighting fit at 83 thanks to Thame club

Tom Gilmore, Thame Racquets Club's oldest member at 83
Tom Gilmore, Thame Racquets Club's oldest member at 83

An 83-year-old former firefighter and solider who is Thame Racquets Club’s oldest member says he still feels the need to achieve something every day.

Tom Gilmore admits he is at an age when most people spend their days sat in cosy rooms reading, watching TV or dozing, but says that is a lifestyle he could never settle for.

Tom has been a member of Racquets for four year and says it has become ‘like a home from home’.

He said: “I am one of those strange people that have a constant need to do something, achieve something on a daily basis, even if it is just mowing the lawn.”

As well as serving in the London fire brigade and as a soldier, Tom was a merchant seaman.

He said: “All of these occupations were extremely physical which suited me fine.”

He travelled to Canada in 1946, aged just 16, such was his ‘relentless urge’ to do something different.

Tom served as a soldier in Egypt in 1950, which was when he first became interested in physical training.

He said: “I had run a lot and swam in the Suez Canal, but training in a purpose designed environment with others was new to me and I became fascinated with working out with weight lifting equipment on a regular basis.

“Those days were all about building one’s body, we were already extremely fit and healthy.

“Now I just train to maintain my body, and unbelievably thoroughly enjoy doing it.”