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It is eight in the morning and the pool at the Y is busy with swimmers doing lengths. One older gentlemen made it look oh so easy as he swims his regular forty lengths.

Let me introduce you to Bill Chipperfield (Chip) He is an eighty two old athlete who for the past twenty-five years has worked out for a couple of hours every Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday morning.

His mother enrolled him at the Windsor Y at the tender age of eight. Do the math and he has been a life long member for seventy-five years and counting.

Chip left school in 1943 at age seventeen to enlist in the Royal Canadian Air Force. Okay, you have to be eighteen but heck he was only one year off the cut off. Pilot/gunner training earned him & officer’s commission. Upon discharge he finished his high school education requirements.

In 1947 Chip was hired by the old London Y as an Aquatic Director and then later branch manager for twenty-eight years. No one ever called him mister; the kids just called him Chip. He was the friendly jock who took the time to learn your name and offer up words of encouragement.

Many a youngster the likes of Dr Peter Fowler, Bill & Louise Kennedy honed their swimming skills from Chip. He didn’t just focus on the super athletes. Everyone, regardless of their physical ability was made to feel that they too were special.

Chip help to establish the Cardiac Rehab program at the Y in 1977 with Cardiologist, Dr Peter Rechnitzer to help heart attack patients regain their health.

He enjoys volunteering his time at the Canada/Summer/Senior Games setting up the canoe courses or helping to marshal the races.

For eight years Chip has been a director of ‘Huff N Puff Fitness’ for 1,340 seniors over age fifty-five. Everyone is welcome to join in: line dancing, Tai Chi, slow pitch, volley ball, carpet bowling, badminton and aquatics at the Carling Heights Arena. If you are interested you can check out their web site: www.huffnpuffsfa.com

I gave Chip the opportunity to go back twenty years (62) or look ahead five years to age eighty-seven; he chose to look ahead. He is not a shoulda, coulda, woulda person. At age eighty-seven he sees himself still going to the Y. Not disheartened by what he can’t do but happy with what he can do will suffice.

To the literally thousands of people he has befriended here is Chip’s philosophy of life. “ Enjoy life and treat people as you wish to be treated.”

Shaun Elliott, C E O of the Y, described Chip as Mr YMCA. “London’s living legend. A thoroughly sincere nice person who cares about his community.”

Len Lesser

Len Lesser posts a report every week

You can email Len at lenlesser@hotmail.com