Keep Fitters Say ‘Au Revoir’ To Bob And Ian

By Matt D’Arcy

Bob Packham and Ian Bedford stepped down as organisers of Amovate’s Keep Fit classes this week—10 years after first getting members to start stepping up!

Bob and Ian have decided to take a break from running the twice-weekly classes at Amovate’s HQ.

Bob & Ian in the red shirts as some of the fitness class raise their glasses in a toast to their trainers

And the fitness enthusiasts got together to organise a presentation and a barbecue to thank them for all the time and effort they have put in making sure people in the community stayed fit and healthy to enjoy their retirement years—or just to enjoy keeping fit.

They were presented with commemorative tankards which no doubt reflect that the keep fit classes are as much a social gathering as a benefit to health and well-being for those who take part.

Cormac Murphy, one of the members, said the classes had been a huge benefit to everyone who has signed up, and that after a serious knee operation they helped to accelerate his recovery in a way that otherwise would not have been possible.

He pointed out that Bob and Ian’s involvement hasn’t just covered the hour-long sessions, but also the time and effort spent setting up the equipment and then storing it again before and after each of the classes.

There was also the thought and planning that goes into designing the training and exercise circuits for each class to avoid repetition which risks people becoming bored.

Ian, speaking on behalf of himself and Bob, declared: “What a fantastic send-off for Bob and myself after 10 years trying to get VDT reasonably fit, and thank you all for the kindness you showed both Bob and myself.

“The two of us are so grateful for our gifts and I can assure you that the tankards will sit in a place that will always remind us of our happy times at the Old School House.

“People of all ages and fitness have graced our Monday and Wednesday sessions and of course family visitors when they are here to enjoy the sun.

“The BBQ was such a fitting end to the last session that Bob and myself hosted and I can assure you it was thoroughly enjoyed.

“Thanks must go to The Petanca Clube for the exceptional cooked chicken, belly pork and ribs, and Sue P. for making the salads etc…..and of course the ladies who supplied the cakes.

“We have had such fun over our time and of course unforgettable parties which always have great tales to relive….

“And now it’s up to you all to keep going and we know you will and Cormac has started by drawing up a rota of help. So, onwards and upwards!”

As Ian said, Cormac himself will be stepping up to take over some of the classes, along with Julia Curphey who has professional experience in this field, having worked for Dragons Den guru Duncan Bannatyne at one of his health clubs in Shropshire.

And Cormac called for more volunteers to help out. So, if YOU have any experience in the world of fitness training, aerobics etc, please get in touch with Amovate. The details are below. 

The fitness classes were started in 2008 by Bob and his physiotherapist son Chris…and from small beginnings come great things.

I was there at the first day and we had to make do with sitting on chairs whilst rapidly tapping our feet on the floor, running up and down the room, stepping up and down on step trainers and using elastic straps as tension bands for working our muscles.

It was pretty basic stuff, but gradually Bob, Chris and Ian—who joined a few weeks after the classes began—started begging, borrowing or buying more equipment.

Now, thanks to their efforts, it’s quite possible that Amovate has the best-equipped gymnasium facilities on the Algarve’s west coast!

Chris returned to England for professional reasons to take up new positions in football and hospital physiotherapy in those early days but Bob and Ian continued the work he had started.

Keep Fit Class

The gym is now equipped with a multi-gym, three treadmills, four cross-trainers, two rowing machines, three static exercise bikes, sit-up benches, weight benches, a couple of dozen step trainers, abdominal crunchers, a variety of equipment to tone up or strengthen various parts of your body and a large assortment of free weights.

The classes are held twice a week, at 11.30am on Monday and Wednesday at the Old Schoolhouse, situated where the road forks outside Vales, towards Arrifana to the left and Vale da Telha to the right.

We have a hard core of around 12-15 enthusiasts, with an average attendance probably of 10 to 12.

Each session lasts for one hour and normally begins with a 10-minute aerobics warm-up to music, followed by around 40-45 minutes of exercises using the equipment, weights and floor mats you can see in the accompanying pictures.

The routines are changed for each session so there’s no risk of anyone getting bored and the entire session comes with a background of enjoyable music.

It’s fun to be fit…and these classes make it fun to get fit!

So come along and see for yourselves:

All are welcome. No membership fee is required and the cost per session is just €2.50. If you would like further information please do not hesitate to get in touch.

Contact Us

1. By e-mail :

2. Address:  Caixa Postal 205, Vale da Telha, 8670 – 156, Aljezur

3. Or message via the Amovate Facebook Page:

Did you like this? Why not share it: