Bert is a member of many of our exercise and social groups. He currently attends our Friday Gentle Exercise group on Zoom, but has also found a way of getting plenty of exercise at home whilst our usual groups are suspended.

In Bert’s words, the lockdown meant that he went from having “a really full programme of exercise to very little”, so he set himself the challenge of seeing how many times he could walk up and down the stairs in his home. One trip up and down is 32 steps. Bert began by walking up and down the stairs once or twice four times a day. He has steadily increased this and now goes up and down the stairs four times in a row and does this four times a day: a grand total of 512 steps! Bert’s record is 20 trips in one day, which is 640 steps!

It’s exercise. That’s what I need and was going to be short of.

Bert’s challenge has had other benefits too: “My distance walking was limited and my house to the cafe was my limit. Now, on a good day, I go from my house to the cafe and back again. My walking up and down stairs that many times has also increased my distance walking - it’s actually doubled in length! It’s increased my ability to walk on the flat”.

What an encouraging story to us all to find ways to exercise at home. Well done Bert, keep up the good work and thank you for the inspiration. 


In loving memory of Albert (Bert) Holmshaw, who sadly passed on Monday 11 January 2021, aged 96.

Bert was a truly valued and highly regarded member of the Link Age Southwark community, always ready with a story to tell. Bert, a WWII Veteran, was born in Sheffield and relocated to Peckham three years ago to live with his daughter Janet, who continued to care for him while he threw himself into a new life in Southwark. 

"Dad came to live with me 3 and a half years ago. This was a big wrench for him and he didn't know anyone. He would have had a very boring life if I had not found Link Age Southwark. He loved socialising with people in all the groups he attended and made the most of his time [...] You have all helped give him a life worth living for the last few years."  
- Janet

Bert was an active member of our social and activity groups, attending several of them before the pandemic, including the Men's Group and Yoga Group on Mondays, Singing Group and Jack Jones Exercise Group on Tuesdays, and Gentle Exercise on Fridays. When our groups moved online, so did Bert - and he was a familiar face on Zoom at our online Singing Group and Gentle Exercise Group on a weekly basis. Exercise was extremely important to Bert and Janet says, "He had still been climbing up and down the stairs right up until Sunday evening - and was looking forward to the Zoom singing group on Monday morning."

As well as our groups, Bert attended many of our special occasions and parties, and more recently he enjoyed writing to his new pen-pal, a student at JAGS, as part of our inter-generational work with local schools. Bert was also a much-loved member of the Taxi Charity for Military Veterans, returning to Normandy with the organisation in 2018 and 2019, to mark the D-Day anniversary.

Members of our team, many of whom worked closely with Bert over the years, have shared their memories and thoughts:


"Very sad news indeed. Such a lovely man who will be missed."

"I had the pleasure of meeting Bert a couple of times in the online group sessions and he was so sweet and cheerful."

"Very sad news. I didn't know Bert, but I know he was very popular."

"Bert will be sorely missed at our groups."

"Very sad. That is the most beautiful email [...] it brought a tear to my eye."

Bert was an extremely inspiring person, not least in his staircase challenge! He lived his life to the full and he will be greatly missed by everyone who knew him. Our thoughts are with Bert's family.