Newtownabbey gym owner’s plea for reopening date ahead of charity challenge

A former Gladiator contestant will take to the streets of Whiteabbey village this Saturday to challenge himself in the style of NHS fundraising hero Captain Sir Tom Moore.

Friday, 9th April 2021, 10:42 am

Glenn Wilkinson (50) will also use the event to highlight the vital link between exercise and mental health during the ongoing Covid pandemic.

A personal trainer and body builder for 30 years, Glenn admitted that watching the doors to his own gym, Glenn Wilkinson Lifestyle, remain closed over the last year has been a huge challenge.

“Exercise not only changes your body, it changes your mind, your attitude and your mood,” says Glenn.

Glenn (right) and Jamie preparing for their challenge.

“And throughout this last year, the closure of gyms has meant that instant outlet for people to feel better mentally and physically has been removed. I believe in the power of movement and the sense of community a gym environment brings - this has been totally lost this year.

“There is a direct link between positive mental health and exercise and I urge our government to wake up and give us a date to allow this industry to get back to doing what we do best - making people feel good, in mind and body.

“We have some hard work ahead, getting our clients and communities feeling comfortable and safe in a gym environment again, but we are passionate about making that happen.”

Glenn and his colleague Jamie Martin have been inspired by Captain Tom and are doing their bit for the #CaptainTom100 challenge. They will circle Whiteabbey 100 times, carrying the weight of an average man between them.

For the duo this task represents the heavy burden that pandemic-induced poor mental health has had on people. They will raise money for mental health charity Aware and would encourage anyone taking their daily walk in Whiteabbey on Saturday to show their support and cheer them on.

Glenn adds that the team at family-run gym look forward to the day when restrictions will lift and they will be able to reopen again to clients and “can passionately start rebuilding a healthier, stronger and mentally more positive community”.


Click here to read: Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council to commemorate the life of Captain Sir Tom Moore


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