A Leyland fitness club was packed with people pushing themselves to the limits to complete a mass ‘hero workout’ this weekend - in memory of an ‘amazing man’.
Members, family and friends associated with the town’s CrossFit community came together to support Rosie Jones, whose husband Paul lost his battle with cancer six weeks ago, aged 44.
Athlete’s Edge opened in Tomlinson Road in 2012 to bring the craze of CrossFit (a core strength and conditioning exercise programme) from America to Leyland.
Now, owner Greg Yates has relocated to bigger premises in Marathon Place following its popularity and success, and the club marked the opening with a special workout in memory of Paul.
Greg explained: “One of our members lost her husband to cancer a few weeks ago, and in the CrossFit community we always rally together to celebrate the life of a member by creating a ‘Workout of the Day’ in their honour.
“We also raise money for charity in the process - in this case, The Christie hospital in Manchester.
“The first workout in our new premises was in memory of Paul, and around 100 members took part in the workout or to support those taking part on Sunday.”
Rosie, 37, designed the workout herself, and said the event would have been right up Paul’s street.
“He was an amazing man,” she said. “His entire life was about keeping fit and healthy. He was ex-military, and he was my absolute inspiration.”
Paul was diagnosed with cancer in 2010, and a bullet wound in his bowel meant that eight years’ worth of cancer grew within just 18 months.
The couple, from Whitestake, met in 2009, and Paul proposed on Valentine’s Day the following year.
The pair planned to elope to Vegas, but Paul was soon after diagnosed, and three weeks before the wedding he was told he only had three months to live.
He fought hard through intensive chemotherapy, and the wedding was rescheduled for September 2010.
“If we saw a window of opportunity we were off travelling,” Rosie said. “We went to Germany, Scotland, toured down south and finally managed a honeymoon in April last year, when we toured California and Nevada.
“He never once gave up, never felt sorry for himself. All he wanted was for me to be safe and strong and secure for the future.
“He died at home with me and his brother and our dogs on January 15, as were his wishes.
“I miss him every moment, but I carry his spirit and total lust for life with me.”
It was Paul’s enthusiasm for life which encouraged Rosie to join Athlete’s Edge, as she wanted to recover from a back operation so she could take care of him at home.
She ran four marathons in 2012, and Paul helped her to train and supported her all the way.
“He loved what it did for my confidence,” Rosie said. “He so worried about me being on my own, and I can’t thank the CrossFit community enough, for all the support they’ve shown us. It’s changed my life.
“I designed the ‘hero workout’, which they do in America when a service man or woman dies in Iraq or Afghanistan.
“It’s really intensive, and seemed fitting for Paul.
“I tried to make it military-hard, with sprinting, pull-ups, lunges with weights, and a mile run at the end.
“Everyone knows what Paul was like - he was always pushing for more. He just wanted people to make themselves better.
“He was fantastic. He really was.”