WHEN it comes to his health, Offaly comedian Neil Delamere is deadly serious. Well, sort of. He’s still full of wit and smart one-liners, yet he is not taking his role as this year’s Pfizer Healthy Town ambassador lightly.
He says the initiative is an excellent way to remind people of the wealth of activities that are available in their area, and it’s a way of encouraging them to do an NCT on themselves.
“I’m like most people in that I don’t keep up to date with all the new avenues that become available for living a bit healthier so anything that can keep us informed of the choices available is a good thing,” he tells Feelgood.
Tullamore has been named 2017 Healthy Town as part of a programme sponsored by pharmaceutical company Pfizer that aims to enhance the health and wellbeing of Irish communities.
This year’s theme is ‘My Mind, My Body and My Heart’ and, in the autumn, there will be a series of health checks and seminars as well as a Healthy Town Hub, showcasing the organisations, groups, and clubs in Tullamore that offer health and wellbeing-related services.
Since the programme began six years ago, Irish Heart has provided over 1,100 free heart checks to help people reduce their risk of heart disease and stroke, Ireland’s two biggest killers.
“Making small changes to your lifestyle, such as diet and becoming active, can add up to big benefits — adding years to your life,” said Janis Morrissey, Head of Health Promotion, Irish Heart.
Speaking of diet and exercise, Neil Delamere says Offaly was a great place to grow up. “I seem to remember having a reasonably healthy adolescence, too. I tried my hand at various sports and soon realised my deeply limited athletic prowess wasn’t suited to many of them. I had great craic giving it a go, though, and played rugby, did Kenpo and even swam for the county. It does have to be said, swimming for Offaly at the time was like playing Gaelic football for Mozambique. The competition wasn’t ferociously intense.”
His sister, however, represented Ireland at underage level in fencing. “I was massively impressed by her skill with a foil. Our house was always full of interesting fencing foreign exchange students from behind the Iron Curtain.”
These days, he still tries to focus on health, and exercises regularly. “I play indoor football weekly — and weakly — and have been known to frequent a spin class on a rare occasion. I mean the very rare occasion. Think, Halley’s-Comet-appearing rare!”
He also tries to follow a healthy diet, but that can be difficult with the pressures of touring. “Breakfast is often eggs, nearly always eggs. Scrambled or poached or Kinder. I’ll have a bit of avocado if there is any in the house — there is never any in the house. They don’t sell it in a Maxol — and some salmon.”
He batch-cooks for convenience. A good chilli or homemade curry are often on the menu.
As for guilty pleasures, chocolate tends to be his big downfall: “I try to avoid it for as long as possible on any given day. When I fall off the wagon, I fall hard. Then, I eat the wagon wheels. When I die, St Peter will meet me at the pearly gates, say ‘hi’, inform me they’re made entirely of Ferrero Rocher and I have to eat my way through them. Happy days.”
All the same, he says he’s delighted to be this year’s Healthy Town ambassador because a community has the power to influence its members positively.
“You only have to look at Irish people who move to Australia and immerse themselves in a beach culture to see the effects. Closer to home, every year Operation Transformation on TV encourages people to walk and run. The army of high-vis jackets walking the country’s highways and byways is testament to their efforts.”
He is encouraging everybody in Tullamore, and the wider Offaly community, to make the most of the local clubs, groups, facilities and resources in their home town. “A full list of events is available on the Healthy Town Facebook page — so tell your family, friends, and neighbours and be part of it in 2017,” he says.
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