My story

How a heart condition hasn't stopped Roy, 79, from taking up roller skating

Roy Payton roller-skating

Roy Payton has no plans to slow down. A roller-skating enthusiast, he is a firm believer in growing old and getting bolder. He speaks to Lauren Symons about his unusual “retirement”.

It was through Roy’s desire to keep fit and try new things that led to him taking up roller skating, just last year. 

He explains: “I have always been a strong believer that life shouldn’t stop when you retire, looking after yourself should be a top priority. Having always tried to keep active, last year I came across a new way to keep fit.

“I took up roller-skating and while it may have taken me about 3-4 weeks to be able to stand up, since then I have never looked back! I even organised a skate-a-thon to raise money for two cancer charities in memory of my daughter,” he said.

Roy’s daughter died from childhood leukaemia in 1969 when she was only one year old, and his wife died of breast cancer in 2001. As a result he stopped doing things and stayed at home, but luckily his son encouraged him to get out and try something new.

Now Roy is turning his hobby into a way to raise awareness about keeping fit in your later years and is raising money for the British Heart Foundation (BHF).

Giving back

He was keen to do more for charity and encourage more people in his generation to get active, so contacted his local David Lloyd Clubs for support. Roy was invited to become a local ambassador to help spread the word about keeping active in later life and was told that the gyms were supporting the BHF as their charity partner.

I have always been a strong believer that life shouldn’t stop when you retire

“This almost felt like fate as in December 2015 I found out I had a problem with my heart. I was having problems breathing so went to the doctors and they discovered I had an irregular heartbeat, otherwise known as atrial fibrillation (AF). I was prescribed medication and given the all clear to keep up with my fitness.”

Together with David Lloyd Eastbourne, Roy will be looking to raise local awareness about the importance of keeping fit and also the vital work that the BHF does. 

Clearly Roy’s fitness has also paid off on a personal level, as he lost two stone in 18 weeks, and still regularly works out at the gym, plays badminton and tennis, or swims in the Sussex sea.

“I am also learning to play the ukulele so I will be the oldest roller skating ukulele player in the world,” he added.