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Gloucestershire Business News

EXCLUSIVE: Gym throws in the towel after 27 years

A Cotswold health and fitness gym has called time on business after nearly three decades as a popular community facility.

Courtyard Health and Fitness, based at 12, Parsonage Street, in Dursley, began trading in 1996 as the brainchild of Carlyle 'Carl' Ward, who was originally a PE teacher and manager of the town's sports centre and whose sporting achievements saw him represent England as a hockey player.

Carl built up the business with his daughter, Emily Ward Trotman, and associates, with Emily taking on the role of day-to-day operation after Carl sadly lost a battle at the age of 73 to Multiple Myeloma in November 2019.

Reflecting on a tough decision to close the business, which had built up a loyal following, as of July 28, Emily told social media followers: "As you can imagine, after 27 years in business, this has been a very difficult decision for us to make and it has taken some complex management."

Offering a standard membership at £36 a month, the club's facilities ranged from a gym that includes watt bikes, rowing, free weights, circuit training, yoga, pilates and movement to music for over 60s.

A background statement on the club's website said: "Carl's dying wish was for his business to continue and for his passion for health and fitness to live on in Dursley. Following the COVID pandemic, our family was forced to make the difficult decision to temporarily close the club in July 2021. However, we partially re-opened 12 months ago and after a year we are delighted to announce our official re-opening on 30th May 2023."

The business had been founded on delivering unlimited personal service and encouraging people to rebuild health challenges through fitness, telling potential customers: "Whilst many people aim to live a healthy lifestyle, we understand that time constraints and motivation can be huge obstacles which prevent us from prioritising our health. We know that if you feel confident, supported and welcome at your fitness venue, the likelihood of you achieving your fitness goals are massively improved."

The facility's offer was based on telling visitors: "you are a valued customer who we take the time to get to know and become friends with. We personally induct you to the gym, design you a bespoke fitness programme, support you until you have the confidence to follow your programme independently, introduce you to other members and encourage friendship and socialising, track and review your progress and encourage you to make permanent healthy lifestyle changes."

Gym users and followers reacted with sadness and support for the decision.

Karen Richards wrote: "I am so so sorry to read this! I know how much your heart and soul was in this business and how much it meant to you. I know it must have been the hardest decision." has been unable to contact the gym for comment.

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