THEY may have a collective life experience of 317 years but age is proving no barrier to four men at York City Rowing Club.

Stuart Gill, 85, Dick Gradley, 85, Philip Stubley, 77, and John Sparrow, 70, celebrated recent birthdays by doing what they love doing most – sculling on the River Ouse.

All four of the men continue to row regularly, and hold a variety of medals, awards and records between them.

John said the exercise keeps them young. "I joined a gym recently and they tested my physiology and apparently I have the heart of a 57 year old," he said, adding he has no plans for retirement, "I think these two 85-year-olds set me a real challenge."

All of the men have a remarkable history in sport.

Former Olympian Dick Gradley is an all-round athlete. His sporting career has encompassed boxing, cycling and gymnastics - for which he represented Great Britain in the 1960 Olympics - before he started sculling aged 65.

At 85, Dick still works as a fitness instructor five days a week.

Stuart Gill was born into rowing having started coxing at 14, and sculling aged 16. When he bought a gift shop in York in 1969, he just got up earlier, so he could scull before work. His rowing came to a halt in 1987, but he returned to it in 2014.

Now he regularly rows 50km a week and last Sunday he competed in the Yorkshire Head, a race he first did in 1968, a mere 49 years ago.

Marathon and fell runner Philip Stubley started rowing in his late 50s and has gone on to win countless hold medals, including two in the Boston World Championships.

Meanwhile, John Sparrow said he started coxing aged 14 because he was no good at cricket and his eyesight not good enough for rugby.

He spent many years coaching and sculling at York City Rowing Club until 2010 when he retired and started the Leisure and Progression Group at YCRC, giving people of all ages and abilities an opportunity to experience the many benefits of rowing. The group now numbers in excess of 50 people and won two golds at the National Masters at Nottingham in 2015.

John’s many years of work were rewarded this year and he was awarded Yorkshire regional volunteer of the year award presented at Henley.