SOUTH Tyne-side’s oldest runner,‘Jarra Jim’, is hoping 2013 is going to be as energetic as this year.
Jim Purcell, says he’s had an unbelievable year after being picked to be an Olympic torch bearer, completing his 26th Great North Run and continuing with his charity work.
The 91-year-old wants the next 12 months to be just as eventful as he gets set to celebrate the 10th anniversary of his false knee joints.
Jim, a former Dunkirk veteran, of Falmouth Drive, Low Simonside, Jarrow, said: “It’s been an amazing year. It’s just been non-stop and that’s the way I like it. I hate staying indoors and doing nothing.
“But I would like to thank all the people who come up to me, give me cash for my charities and have a chat with me. Without them, it wouldn’t be the same.”
Jim’s charity, the JP Handicapped Children’s Trust, has helped out countless good causes, including Epinay Business and Enterprise School in Jarrow – which he has a particular fondness for.
And he scooped the judge’s special accolade at this year’s Pride of South Tyneside Awards.
He said: “I know the school is trying to raise £1.6m to expand, so I gave them £1,000 to help them on their way. I love spending time with the children, and I was delighted when a coachload of them came over to Wallsend to watch me carry the torch in June.”
Jim has already been accepted for next year’s 13.1-mile run, and he hopes to participate in the borough’s annual Boxing Day dip too.
He said: “I’m not very fast these days around the Great North Run and, when I hit Jarrow, a good 30 minutes gets added on to my time straight away because everyone stops me.
“But I will definately be doing it because they’ve taken the entrance fee out of my bank account. I don’t do as much as running now, but I am always dashing about so that helps me stay fit and I do long walks.”
He added: “My left knee will be celebrating its 10th anniversary in February, and my right knee will be 10 in May.
“Every morning, I have a cold bath with salt in– that keeps me supple. Just a fortnight ago I got a medical and the doctor said I’m fighting fit.
“So there’s no stopping me just yet.”