Send us news, start your message Cheshire News and your send photos and videos to 80360
Dave's Gym in Northwich builds up to 40th year
A FAMILY gym is still going strong as it muscles its way into its 40th year in Northwich.
Dave’s Gym, off Station Road, was started by a 30-year-old Dave Mather in 1973 in a bid to keep Northwich lads on the straight and narrow.
It was originally set up in two neglected rooms at the back of Northwich Youth Club, in Winnington Street, opening for men only three nights a week.
Dave, now 72, worked full time at Roberts Bakery and ran the gym in his own time.
He said: “When I first started there were no gyms anywhere at all.
“My boss Alan Roberts was a JP and he said that lads come in front of them and said the only reason they went to crime was because there’s nothing to do.
“So he asked me, if he got me a little room, would I open a gym?”
Roberts Bakery provided the electrics for the early gym and Dave built it up with his family, friends and fitness enthusiasts.
“When we started we only charged 20p because it was mainly to keep these lads off the streets, and they helped out with jobs round the gym too,” Dave said.
“In no time they were coming from all over.”
As demand grew, the youth club gave Dave more space and in the 1980s he also started ladies nights on Tuesdays and Thursdays, much to the disgruntlement of his regulars.
“These blokes were saying ‘you’re not having women are you?’,” he said.
“Now it’s all mixed all the time and no-one’s bothered.”
Dave’s wife Joyce started to help out in the 1980s and their children Neil and Karen, then pupils at Rudheath High School, started opening the gym at the earlier time of 4pm, after school.
Members competed in power lifting and bodybuilding competitions in the 1980s and Dave’s hosted the North West Counties Weightlifting Competition in 1984.
Joyce and Neil also started the first step aerobics classes in Northwich in 1988, with some of the original participants still joining in classes today.
Dave’s Gym moved to its current premises in 1993, when it outgrew the youth club, and now has more than 2,000 members on its books.
Of these, 22 have been members for 30 years or more.
Neil, now 41 and manager of the gym, said: “I think the beauty of it is that we still get the body builders and the power lifters but we also get the housewives, joggers, nanas and granddads, three generations in together.
“Just like its the three generations that run it.”
Dave still works at the gym, with Joyce, Neil, Karen and 16-year-old grandson Billy.
He said: “We really enjoy it – you’re working but you get that lovely feeling and there’s always a Mather here.”
Neil added: “It’s a dream job.
“We would like to thank everyone, all the generations, for supporting us over the years – without them we wouldn’t be here.”
• Dave’s Gym is taking on new members for its 40th year at the start of August.
For more information visit davesgym.co.uk or ring 01606 330682.