Source of youth in Newlands

2016-11-15 06:00
Helga Feneberg (celebrating 80 years) and Salome Stephens (turning 90) share a toast with Doreen van der Berg (centre). PHOTO: gary van dyk

Helga Feneberg (celebrating 80 years) and Salome Stephens (turning 90) share a toast with Doreen van der Berg (centre). PHOTO: gary van dyk

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The secret is out: the fountain of youth is in Newlands.

To discover that secret source you have to be part of the Hydrocise class at the Sports Science Institute of South Africa, where they have just celebrated some special birthdays.

As the designated “captain” of the 09:30 Monday, Wednesday and Friday classes, Doreen van der Berg explains that they have a group that loves to socialise in, and out, of the pool.

She does not want to reveal the average age of the group but last Friday they were celebrating two special birthdays.

“Today is a very special celebration as we toast Helga Feneberg on her 80th birthday and Salome Stephens on her 90th,” she says. Helga is celebrating her birthday today and Salome’s was last Wednesday.

“They’ve both been with us for more than 14 years and it’s a magnificent achievement by them.

“Despite numerous hip and knee replacements, Helga still arrives early so she can swim a few lengths before the class commences. Nothing keeps her away from the water.

“Salome, who has been married to husband Ken for 63 years, has not been able to come regularly in the past few months, while caring for Ken and also suffering from shingles in her eye, but she assures us she will be back as soon as her problem clears up.”

Doreen further explains that many of the class participants have been coming to class for up to 20 years and no-one has left without serious consideration.

“Last year, someone suggested that those with aches and pains should try the age-old ‘medication’ of raisins soaked in gin.

“Needless to say, gin sales went soaring and we rushed to acquire shares in the raisin industry. As a result, the class was renamed the ‘hydrogin’ class, a name we use today.”

She adds that the class is also unique for having 12 swimmers over the age of 80; people who are still actively involved in the class.

“Most of the class has joined after having surgery, such as hip replacements or back problems, and require more gentle exercise.

“We are an extremely happy and very caring group who are delighted to party at the drop of a hat.

“For the past few years, we have celebrated birthdays ending in a nought and also a single party for the octogenarians, by having a party after the class, usually next to the pool.”

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