Woodford Green exercise teacher still fighting fit at 86 awarded British Empire Medal

PUBLISHED: 17:24 20 June 2013 | UPDATED: 17:24 20 June 2013

Joyce Nicholls 86 has been given a Bristish Empire Medal for her services to fitness over the years.

Joyce Nicholls 86 has been given a Bristish Empire Medal for her services to fitness over the years.


A keep fit instructor who is still feeling the burn at the age of 86 has been awarded the British Empire Medal in the Queen’s Birthday Honours.

Joyce Nicholls, of Oakhill Crescent, Woodford Green, was recognised for her services to fitness.

Mrs Nicholls, who has three children, seven grandchildren and her first great-grandchild on the way, said she got “hooked” on keep fit classes in the 1950s.

After a teacher suggested she train as an instructor, she began taking classes and has now been teaching for 56 years.

She said: “It’s exercise, movement and dance – we don’t aim to get people puffed out, just to raise the heartbeat.

“It can be for any age. I have an over 60s class with some people over 90.

“I once started a post-natal class for young mothers and now their babies are grown up.”

Mrs Nicholls worked as an obstetric physiotherapist before devoting more time to keep fit when she retired at 70 and now takes four classes a week.

As president of the South West Essex Keep Fit Association, Mrs Nicholls choreographs routines and aims to make exercise enjoyable and accessible for all ages, regardless of ability.

She was one of six Redbridge residents awarded in the Queen’s Birthday Honours.

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