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Fitness fanatic Mr Gravesend dies

PUBLISHED: 15:11 08 December 2010 | UPDATED: 15:19 08 December 2010

Frederick Eastmond

Frederick Eastmond

Archant

A war veteran, gym founder and former Mr Gravesend has died aged 90.

Frederick James Eastmond founded The Gateway to Strength and Health fitness club -one of the first gyms in Gravesend - following his time in the Royal Airforce in WWII and went on to be crowned Mr Gravesend in 1952.

He died at his home in Calgary, Canada, on Friday after losing his battle to prostate cancer which was diagnosed in October.

A former Gordons School for Boys pupil, Mr Eastmond was drawn to boxing and fitness at a young age and was crowned lightweight ABA (Amateur Boxing Association) British champion at the age of 12 after receiving training from his father Jack Eastmond.

His daughter, Glynis Eastmond-Randall, 65, spoke of his love of exercise and body-building.

She said: “His dad was keen for him to go on and become professional but he had a look at the way boxers came out, with cauliflower ears, broken noses, and decided he liked his looks too much.”

Following the war, during which time he met his first wife and Glynis’s mother Joan, Mr Eastmond returned to Gravesend as a sheet metal worker and built his gym just off the High Street.

“He built the whole thing, the machines, everything. It would probably break every regulation nowadays,” said Mrs Eastmond-Randall, who now lives in South Australia.

“He was immensely proud of his physique, and though he was a small man, probably 5’7, he was so strong. I remember as a girl being in awe, I thought he was superman.”

Mr Eastmond, who was a grandfather and great grandfather, was also forward thinking and set up a ladies’ gym for a few years, aiming at helping women regain their shape after childbirth, though he was forced to close this after a few years.

Moving to Canada with his new wife, he continued to live a healthy life before being diagnosed.

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