Ulrich Weigert is a familiar figure around Endcliffe Park and Hunters Bar.
On Fridays, he joins a group in the park for one of Sheffield’s regular health walks.
He needs a little support from a frame these days, but he can be excused that given that he has just celebrated his 100th birthday. He certainly does not intend to stop walking.
“I’ve always walked, from childhood onwards. I’ve always liked the hills and getting to the top,” said Ulrich, who lives in Hunters Bar.
“It’s one of the things that has kept me young – I’ve never smoked either.
“Here in Sheffield walking is still very popular but there are many other people who never walk nowadays and sit in their cars.
“Cars are a useful tool but the Peak District is over-populated with them now.
“The secret to a long life I’d say is make sure your parents don’t die too early! My father was 97 when he died, my grandfather 89.
“I certainly enjoy having a bowl of muesli every day too but whether it has prolonged my life I can’t tell!”
Ulrich was born in 1914 in the Bavarian Alps, and came to England as a refugee at the age of 20. “Because I was Jewish my father was very conscious of what was going on and said there was no future for me there.”
However, he was sent to Canada as an ‘enemy alien’ falsely suspected of being a spy. He was transferred to military barracks on the Isle of Man, and finally released in 1941.
Ulrich went on to be an analytical chemist in the steel industry, campaigned against fluoride in tap water and had two children with wife Barbara.
He has taken part in the Endcliffe Park health walk since it was launched 10 years ago – and took up yoga at the age of 99.
Anna Benson, volunteer health walk leader, said Ulrich turned up even during snow and ice. “We have a lot of people in their 80s taking part, but Ulrich is exceptional. He’s got more determination than most people in their 50s. He is still interested in the world and has a great sense of humour.”
Friends baked a cake for Ulrich’s 100th and sang ‘happy birthday’ at Endcliffe Park cafe.
Daughter Susie, 60, of Edinburgh, said: “We are all so proud of him for lots of reasons – he loves life and never sees anything as a problem.”