A Blackburn gym’s longest-running member says he only had to pay £3 for a full year’s membership when he joined up more than 30 years ago.

Haji Ahmed, 67, said he first attended the MyGym at Bangor Street Community Centre back in 1993 and is believed to be the gym’s longest-running member.

When he first attended, the gym was just a small room and had been established by people who attended the centre and wanted to get fit.

He said: “It was something that the area needed back then and there were a few of us who joined up but there was only limited equipment.

"There were mostly just weights and it was only a male gym.

“Later a bike was brought in and a rowing machine. Slowly more equipment arrived.

“At the time I paid £3 for the whole year. It is hard to believe but we thought it was a reasonable price. It works around less than 30p a month.

“Some years later the price then went up to £4 and then £6 some years later.

“I remember people complaining saying it was a big increase!”

Later, the gym was run by the team at Blackburn with Darwen Healthy Living with the price for a full year’s membership going up from £12 to £40 for the year.

Presently, the gym, which is run independently, charges £85 for a full year’s membership and has both a male and a female section on the second floor.

Haji said: “It is still pretty cheap. Probably the cheapest in town. I walk here as I live five minutes away.

"I think a lot of people still walk here and it is a second home to people.”

(Image: Nq/LT) Haji said he wanted to inspire others to exercise as much as they could

Haji said it was important for people to stay active and fit. 

“As you get older the muscles get more supple, and I think exercise makes a big difference.

“I know in our community especially there are health issues due to people simply not doing enough exercise and I do encourage people my age to keep themselves active.

“I come here daily and I know there are people who have been coming here for over 20 years.

“I still know some of the guys who used to come here in the 90s.”

(Image: Nq/LT) Haji revealed that people complained when the price went up by a quid

Haji, a keen footballer, turned out for a number of amateur clubs during his career and said he always like to keep fit.

He added: “In those days I think football kept us all going to be honest. 

“It was a lot different than it is now and sometimes half the battle was being accepted on the pitch by the opposition. But we had some great friends from all communities.

“We used to play in local leagues and tournaments in the late 70s and early 80s. I played at both Deepdale and Ewood Park in finals.”