GYM boss Richard Noble is celebrating 15 years in business for his PF2 Health Club, but things could have been so different for him after a cancer scare.

Originally from near Liverpool, Richard has been in the fitness and leisure industry for 30 years. He first arrived in Worcester in the late 1980s as a groundsman for Worcestershire County Cricket Club.

“When I arrived it was a bit of a culture shock coming from a football city like Liverpool to a cricketing one like Worcester," he said. “It was during the era of Botham, Illingworth and Imran and it was great to be involved.”

Richard went on to work for Wychavon District Council at Droitwich Sports Centre before moving on to leisure centres in Pershore and Evesham.

Following that, Richard was transferred to Hereford and it was then that he received the devastating news that he had been diagnosed with testicular cancer.

“It was discovered quite late and I did the typical bloke thing of assuming it would go away," he told the Worcester News.

“I asked the consultant if I had to do chemotherapy as I didn’t want to lose my hair and he said ‘well in two weeks time you might not be here’ and that really hit me – having that brush with death really made me determined to go and set up my own gym and try it for myself.

“It is really important to me to raise money for Cancer Research – they are a big charity but the reason I’m still here is because of their work.”

In 2003 Richard was able to start in his own gym, opening the first branch of PF2 in Malvern, and there is now also one in Worcester.

He had been developing his business plan for five years before opening, and said: “Opening a gym is not cheap and you really have to do your research before setting one up.”

Richard says that PF2 is different to other gyms in its attitude to customers: “It annoys me in some of the larger gyms where there’s no real soul – I’ll go and have a chat with people and having a close-knit team makes it really rewarding to get to know people.”