A BENDY Burnham pensioner is into the final four of a Brave Britons competition.

Marion Watson is still staging keep-fit classes at her care home – despite being a 101-year-old great-grandmother.

Now she has reached the grand final of the 'active agers' category in the Amplifon Brave Britons awards.

Marion is a resident at Down Hall Residential Home, in Bradwell.

The plucky pensioner said: “I started the exercise classes because I feared I was starting to ‘give up’.

"Doctors have been telling me for 35 years to never give up, so I don’t.”

Marion first took up gymnastics when she was 18 and travelled the country, taking part in competitions and winning medals.

Her passion for fitness continued throughout her life and she became an aerobics teacher in her hometown of Burnham ... when she was in her 70s.

She also played golf twice a week for more than 30 years.

Care home activities coordinator Louise Simon handed over the fitness baton to Marion when she became a resident at Down Hall last September, after discovering the wealth of her experience.

Chelmsford Weekly News:

  • Marion has still got what it takes

Marion offered to host the keep-fit classes in a bid to regain her youthfulness – despite having already notched up her centenary.

She said: “They set up the chairs for us and all sorts of exercises pop into my head. I mostly give people hand exercises and we take it nice and slow.

“There is a picture of me in the hallway with my legs behind my head – I can still do it!”

Marion shows no signs of stopping and is still in great health, despite having type 2 diabetes.

Care home manager Karen Johnson says Marion's moves encourage other residents to take part in the exercise classes.

She said: “Marion is so inspirational to us all and has kept both staff and residents motivated throughout lockdown, which has helped with keeping morale up.

“Though Marion takes classes very seriously, she does make them fun too. She adapts her classes to suit everyone’s abilities and encourages everyone to go at their own pace.”

Chelmsford Weekly News:

  • Marion is as lithe as ever

Marion has been invited to the virtual awards presentation on October 13, when Radio 5 Live breakfast presenter Rachel Burden will host the event.

Falklands War hero Simon Weston will be guest of honour.