A MAN from Sheffield who grew up walking in the Bavarian Alps is still in the peak of fitness - at the grand old age of 97.
Ulrich Weigert, who lives with his wife Barbara in Ecclesall, manages to go out walking for up to an hour each day, and is now the oldest member of any Sheffield Health Walk group.
He walks with the group that strides out along the Porter Valley from Endcliffe Park.
And this week, fellow walkers greeted him with a surprise birthday cake and a chorus of ‘Happy Birthday’ to mark the occasion, when he turned up for their regular stroll to Forge Dam.
Ulrich was already in his nineties when he joined the group around five years ago. He had previously been a member of The Ramblers’ Association.
The retired steelworker and grandfather, who spent his early years in Germany, said: “I’ve been walking since childhood.
“Before I was 10 years old I was climbing mountains that were more than one kilometre high and I have carried on ever since. I still try to walk for around one hour a day although I have slowed down a bit these days.
“My favourite walk is along the Porter Valley where I like to see the wildlife, such as herons and kingfishers.”
Ulrich, who came to Sheffield in 1947 and worked for United Steel Companies, credits his fitness to leading a healthy lifestyle.
“My father was a doctor and I come from a non-smoking family and look after myself,” he said.
Ulrich fled Germany for the UK in 1934 to escape from the Nazis because his father was Jewish.
“My parents wanted me to leave Germany and I had a cousin in Manchester, so I came over to the UK,” he said.
During World War Two, however, Ulrich was treated as a ‘friendly enemy alien’ and was first deported to Canada, then returned to a camp on the Isle of Man before being released in the later stages of the conflict.
His father managed to survive because he had been allowed to continue practising as a doctor for Jewish people and was not put on the list for deportation to a concentration camp until the end of the war. His mother also survived.
But not all members of the family were so lucky.
“My grandmother, who was 86, was deported to a camp in Vichy France and died of illness there,” Ulrich said.
The Health Walk from Endcliffe Park takes place every Tuesday afternoon, whatever the weather, and takes no longer than an hour to complete.
There are 31 walks run around Sheffield by volunteer walk leaders.
For more information about health walks near you, call 0114 203 9335.
1 - how many hours Ulrich Weigert tries to walk each day
10 - decades Ulrich has been walking
64 - the number of years Ulrich has lived in Sheffield
1,000 - the height of mountains Ulrich was hiking up before he was even 10 years old