Preston powerlifting pensioner Peter leads by example

The chairman of the Rosemere Cancer Foundation is leading fundraising by example - by competing in his first powerlifting competition aged 77.

Thursday, 17th June 2021, 4:55 am

In December, Peter Mileham will be squatting, bench pressing and deadlifting in a Masters 4 category at Fitcess Gym in Raglan Street, Preston having trained all summer.

In doing so, he hopes to raise funds for the cancer centre in Preston, which has seen it’s revenue slashed by half because of the pandemic.

>>>Read about Peter becoming chairman of Rosemere here.

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Peter Mileham, 77

Peter was introduced to the sport by personal trainer Tom Hulme, having gone to the gym with a friend to keep fit.

Peter said: “When you get out of bed in the morning, you need a reason to do that. And you need to keep yourself in good nick.

“For an older man my fitness was pretty okay, then Tom decided I was a natural at powerlifting and asked if I’d be interested in doing a competition. I said, ‘If that’s what you want to do, alright.”

Peter, of Lightfoot Lane, Fulwood, hopes that he can attract some sponsorship ahead of the competition for over 70s, and inspire more older people to get active.

Peter, 77

He added: “As chairman I’m showing by example. Hopefully I can influence and get other people doing things.

"Too many people have damn all else to do except talk about interest rates, the weather and ill health.

"That doesn't interest me at all. I need to be active."

Tom said Peter - a former High Sheriff of Lancashire and director of Liquid Plastics Ltd in Preston - was “very modest” and his natural ability is “incredible”, particularly for someone who has never done the sport before and describes himself as “the worst man at football at school”.

Peter Mileham and trainer Tom Hulme

Tom said: “He picks up complex stuff very quickly. “He’s really throwing himself into it.“

Peter is Tom’s oldest client, with the youngest being nine. With Peter he is taking a long-term approach to training, and won’t reveal at the moment how heavy the weights he will be lifting are.

He said: “Right now we’re focussing on technique and understanding the discipline, then when the accuracy is impeccable, the weights will increase.”

Peter said he feels "absolutely fine" after a training session with Tom, and isn't on a specialised diet, preferring to enjoy "a damn good meal" whenever he can.

Powerlifting is the total of taking the heaviest squat, bench press, and deadlift attempt lifted in competition and adding them together.

Tom said the sport was growing in popularity with the older generation.

He said: “There is a perception that it’s dangerous and unhealthy for joints, but actually this kind of work is good for you.

“It keeps you bone density high, keeps you feeling good day-to-day, it’s good for flexibility and co-ordination and it’s good for mental wellbeing too.”

Tom’s aim is to have Peter competing nationally within two years, something he says is “quite achievable.”

Tom, 20, is himself fundraising for Rosemere, in the name of family friend Bilal 'Bill' Mulla, a Lancashire police inspector who died of cancer in May.

He aims to complete the Three Peaks challenge, and if he surpasses £2,000, which is double the target donation Tom set himself to raise, he will double the challenge, meaning he will turn around and walk the whole route again hopefully in under 24 hours.

>>>Follow Tom's training journey via instagram @3peaksforbill.