The Keep Fit Association Volunteer of the Year Awards 2016

Sylvia Meyer –  Teacher member winner

Sylvia is a dedicated professional Keep Fit Association teacher who has devoted most of her adult life to promoting the ethos of the Association. She is kind and compassionate, always showing awareness of the needs of her class members at any given point in time. She makes her classes interesting and entertaining and everyone always comes out smiling!

Sylvia is the epitome of the benefits of keeping fit – she has only missed teaching classes though ill health on a handful of occasions over her 54 years of teaching. During that time, she has been a staunch supporter of the Keep Fit Association and inspired many women (and some men too). Not only has she been a member (and is indeed a Life Member) of the South Devon Area, she also encourages and promotes Keepc Fit Association membership in all her classes. Sylvia’s classes are run professionally with humour, patience and sensitivity, encouraging participation and socialising to all who attend.

Her caring and kindly manner and concern for all her ‘girls’ is what is so special about Keep Fit Association teachers. Over the years, Sylvia has regularly attended training courses and acted as ‘a body’ for other teachers on their pre-assessment and assessment days.

Sylvia Meyer & Janice Moore

Janice Moore President of the The Keep Fit Association and Sylvia Meyer Volunteer of the Year Teacher 2016

Sylvia has been a mentor to potential and new teachers, welcoming them in to take her classes and following up with professional and constructive comments. Many local organisations have benefitted from an ‘active’ talk from Sylvia as she always gets the audience moving – even when seated – promoting the benefits of exercise, companionship and the Keep Fit Association way of working.

Sylvia has produced, and been a member of, numerous display teams, both locally, regionally and nationally. Her precision in choreography, sensitivity in creating work thoroughly suited to the team she is working with, and calm teaching manner lead to a happy and well-taught team. Rehearsal rooms are also places for much fun and laughter. Anyone watching one of Sylvia’s display items can only be thoroughly impressed and entertained. An ideal advertisement for the Keep Fit Association is watching well-rehearsed, quality movements devised by a dedicated teacher.

Sylvia has been a South Devon Keep Fit Association committee member and officer for many, many years and is the current President of South Devon Keep Fit Association. As well as being a wiling pair of hands at local events, she runs her own fund-raising events in her classes, making money for local organisations as well as for the National Keep Fit Association nominated charities.

Sylvia has given freely of her time for several years now, devising and teaching routines for keep fit weekends with South Devon’s colleagues in West Cornwall. Sylvia never produces the same routine twice – a testament to her creativity – and there is always a waiting list to attend, which speaks for itself.

Sylvia’s reaction to winning

What a wonderful surprise on receiving your letter to hear that I have won yet another award of which I shall be so proud and honoured to receive.

I took my first class as a Keep Fit Association teacher at the age of 30 but never thought I would still be teaching at the age of 84.

My 55 years of classes have given me such happy memories and so many friends.


Ann Wardle  – Committee member winner

Ann has been chair of the Lune Valley Keep Fit Association committee for many years during which she will take on any job, big or small, to ensure that things get done. This was seen last year during the celebration of Lune Valley Keep Fit Association 40th Anniversary when Ann organised and collaborated with other members to ensure a successful and enjoyable event. Every past member was contacted and invited, which was no mean feat. Past Royal Albert Hall teams and regional displays were shown on three TVs, going back to the 1980s, which was excellent, as well as a display of leotards and Guess the Year! To top it off, Ann decorated a fabulous cake.


Ann Wardle receiving Volunteer if the Year Committee member award from Janice Moore – President of the Keep Fit Association

Ann finds the time to write the local newsletter for every member to ensure they are kept informed of everything that is going on within the Lune Valley Keep Fit Association. This is sent by email, but not every member has access to this, so Ann will deliver the newsletter personally to ensure that no one is missed out.

Each year Ann composes a funny poem that is based on local team rehearsals. Perhaps, without intention, this acts as an aide memoire from May to October as it describes the progression and content of the rehearsals from start to finish.

Ann has also served on the regional committee and has given her time to the training sub-committee. This usually involves travelling many miles over the North West to attend. When this committee needed a new set of numbers from 1 to 100 for making the fund-raising draw, Ann volunteered to get them made. Whilst her son produced the wooden counters, Ann numbered, sanded and varnished each one, complete with a bag to keep them in for the committee, that will now last a lifetime. It was never established how many hours went into making these!

At each regional event, Ann volunteered to be the first aider, until this was taken over by St John’s Ambulance. Her experience as a PE teacher helped with the competence to do this.

Ann has shown personal commitment to the KFA both locally and regionally by serving on these committees to lend support verbally and by leading rallies throughout the North West whenever asked. This has gained her much respect from friends and colleagues. Ann will always contribute in full at all meetings with personal views and ideas to enable motions to be taken forward. In Lune Valley, she is considered more than a team player, as without her, there may not be a team as she keeps the Area together by her motivation and hard work. If Ann was to leave either committee her contribution would be greatly missed.

Ann’s reaction to winning

Gobsmacked! That was my initial reaction on learning that I’d won the Committee Member section of Volunteer of the Year, when I know that there are many others who do as much and more for their areas/regions. Of course I am delighted to have won this award, especially because my local area, Lune Valley, was in danger of disbanding many years ago. This prompted some of us to join the committee with the intention of keeping it going so that we could all enjoy performing at local, Regional & National events, and I’m so pleased that we did, as we have attracted new members who have become stalwarts of the Regional team. I am also very proud that we, a very small area, have managed to survive when so many larger areas have fallen by the wayside, and I wish to thank all my Keep Fit Association  friends who have helped in this.