A Christmas dream come true for 92-year-old war veteran

At the age of 92, and less than a year after breaking his back in a fall, World War II veteran, Dennis Humphreys, has surpassed expectations by learning to walk again in time for Christmas, all thanks to a specialist gym rehabilitation programme at care village, Belong Crewe.

Dennis, who served in Norway, Egypt and Palestine during his time in the army in the 1940s, began his recovery at the Crewe care village in March 2018 after a serious fall in his home resulted in a broken back, leaving him unable to walk. Now, only five months into his fitness and recovery programme in Belong’s gym, Dennis is strong enough to walk and live independently again, and will be ‘walking’ home on 15th December to spend Christmas with his nephew, John.

Dennis said: “I’m very pleased and grateful for the help from Belong over the past few months. My fitness instructor Zoë has worked very hard to get me back on my feet again – I don’t even need my walking frame anymore, just my sticks! I’ve particularly enjoyed the ‘Silverfit Mile’ equipment in the gym, which allows me to virtually visit places in the world that I travelled to as a soldier, and during my retirement.

“I am ready to live independently again in time for Christmas Day, and I’m particularly looking forward to sharing Christmas dinner with my nephew, John, in the comfort of my own home.”

Fitness instructor Zoë Robson commented: “I have absolutely loved working with Dennis. He has come a long way since the early days of his gym programme, and we’ve covered all sorts of exercises: mobile pedallers to increase joint mobility, leg weights to increase muscle mass, and the static bike, which he now uses for 20 minutes every other day.

“Dennis is a kind, sweet man, whose resilience and love for life has inspired the entire village. We struck up a particular bond since I too am a war veteran, having served in the military police for 12 years. His motivation has been extraordinary, and I’m so proud of how far he has come.”

In 2019, Dennis will make use of award-winning home care service, Belong at Home, which provides personalised home care packages tailored to the needs of individual customers. The not-for-profit organisation is committed to supporting people to live well through exercise and, as such, all its village customers have access to an exercise studio equipped with specialist gym equipment, supervised by instructors qualified in fitness and exercise for older people. The facilities are also open to members of the public who wish to simply get fit or recover from injury or illness.