Exercise class is saved from axe by an Angel

EXERCISE Juliette O'Hea with Mike Ball during an exercise class              Picture: Ian Hargreaves  (100190-1)
EXERCISE Juliette O'Hea with Mike Ball during an exercise class Picture: Ian Hargreaves (100190-1)

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PEOPLE with arthritis can continue limbering up at a popular exercise class thanks to a cash donation from a community radio station.

The future was hanging in the balance for the class in Havant, which gives arthritis sufferers a physical and mental boost every week.

For the past year the class has been sponsored by Havant Borough Council, which paid £14 a week towards hall hire and keeping the fees low.

But when funding was due to run out, course leader Juliette O’Hea was considering increasing charges or scrapping the class altogether.

Angel Radio, the nostalgia music station based in Market Parade, Havant, stepped in to save the day.

The station, whose motto is snap, crackle but no pop, has matched the council’s funding.

Tony Smith, station manager, said: ‘These exercise classes for people who have arthritis have proven over the past year to be so effective that when Juliette told me she may have to stop the classes or put the fees up, I had no doubt in my mind what I had to do.

‘I found out how much the borough council’s sponsorship was last year and I gave Juliette a cheque for the same amount.’

Mrs O’Hea, a chartered physiotherapist, knows more than most the debilitating effects of the joint disease after suffering from it since the age of 11. She was not diagnosed until aged 19 and at physiotherapy college.

Now she is committing her life to helping the thousands of others who struggle with the condition every day.

Her class at St Joseph’s Church Hall, in West Street, aims to improve balance and posture and keep the joints moving.

Mrs O’Hea, 46, of Bowes Hill, Rowlands Castle, said: ‘I was delighted with the sponsorship from the council, but I knew it was running out.

‘This is fantastic. I wanted to keep the prices low to give everybody an opportunity to take part. Without Angel Radio, I would be in a much worse predicament.’

The cost of the class will remain at £3.50 per session, with the first session free, held every Thursday at 10am and 11.10am.

For more details call Mrs O’Hea on (023) 9241 3885.