A 74-YEAR-OLD fitness fanatic has set himself the challenging of bench pressing 30kg an ambitious 500 times for charity.

Derek Eade, who lives in Lawford, has been hitting the gym since he was 15 years old.

As exercising is still “very important” to Derek, he makes sure he attends Fitness at Summers Park, in Lawford, five days a week to stay in shape.

Last year, Derek put his fitness to the test by taking part in the Race For Life, organised by Cancer Research following his wife, Sue’s, battle with breast cancer.

It was the first year men could participate, and Derek completed the 5km route.

Sue, now 63, was diagnosed with the disease in February 2019.

Thankfully, she managed to beat breast cancer after her tumour was removed and she underwent radiotherapy.

Derek, who has been married to Sue for 40 years, said: “Last year, I did the 5k run, which rates as one of the best events in which I have ever taken part.

“It was a privilege to run alongside thousands of people who had been affected by this terrible disease.”

He wanted to complete the charity event again, but due to the Covid-19 pandemic, this year’s run had to be cancelled in its original form.

Instead the event has been renamed A Very 2020 Race For Life, and participants can complete the challenge - at a social distance - by running around their gardens or their local park.

However, rather than going on a solo run, Derek has elected to use a bench press and do 500 lifts carrying 30kg.

“The reason behind me taking up this challenge is for my wife, who fought breast cancer and won with the help of some wonderful people in the cancer unit at Colchester Hospital,” he added.

“It is also for all those who have lost a loved one or who are battling through it now.”

Derek can lift considerably heavier weights than 30kg, but said: “500 reps of 80kg would probably be the end of my coffin dodging career.”

Dad-of-two Derek added: “Staying fit is very important to me.

“I have been in gyms since I was 15 and played most sports and martial arts.

“I am sure the whole fitness regime has helped me both physically and mentally throughout life.”

Derek, originally from Bethnal Green, in London, has thanked the owner of Fitness at Summers Park Dean Smith for letting him use his gym to exercise in regularly.

Derek’s bench pressing challenge as part of A Very 2020 Race For Life is taking place on September 26.

To find out more or sponsor him, visit fundraise.cancerresearchuk.org/page/dereks-very-2020-race-for-life-4.