A FORMER power lifting champion from Andover has retired from his job as a gym instructor after nearly three decades.

Fitness consultant Robyn Brown, 73, left his role last month after 27 years of offering health and exercise advice to Andover residents.

The former 10 time world power lifting champion initially took up a nine hour position at Andover Leisure Centre when Valley Leisure took over in 1991.

Nine hours eventually evolved into 35, making him the first full time fitness instructor at the West Street facility, where he has worked ever since.

Reflecting on his time at the leisure centre, he said: “The most rewarding thing really is seeing people move forward.

"I had a letter one day from a man who had an assessment with me and his blood pressure was very high.

"I never saw him again, but a letter came through addressed to me and it was from this man saying ‘thank you very much, you saved my life’.

“I will miss the guys I work with and the banter we have out there in the gym.

"It’s a great atmosphere and everybody helps each other – but that’s what makes the leisure centre what it is.”

Robyn, a former engineer, has had a long association with fitness, having competed as an Olympic Weightlifter in the 1960s.

He has also been a 10 time world champion power lifter and became the British No.1, European No.2 and World No.3 in 1988.

Speaking about his time competing as a power lifter, Robyn said:: “A career highlight would be winning my 10 world titles.

"When you are walking out with around 2000 people in the Johannesburg University and all the cameras are flashing, national anthem playing, lights on us, it’s unbelievable.

“My grandchildren now come over and wear all the medals around their necks."

During his time at the leisure centre, Robyn has brought his extensive knowledge of the competitive sport.

He has helped to set up and run competitions at the leisure centre including the annual Fitness Expo.

The centre has also played host to the British Powerlifting Union's (BPU) British Championships.