A DOTING grandfather has become four-times powerlifting record-breaker just a year after taking up the sport.

Retired Army physical training instructor Verrol Skerritt, 52, began his journey just a year ago when he walked into the Valhalla Gym on Rhosddu Industrial Estate.

It initially started as a new way to keep fit but he was soon bitten by the competitive bug after witnessing the achievements of fellow lifters Vicky Ellis and Pam Fellows.

Verrol, of Bradley, said: “I got into it by osmosis really. Initially it was a way of keeping fit and to try something different, I thought I’d have a go at it.

“But after being in the gym and seeing what Vicky and Pam were doing I started to feel the competitive edge and thought that this was something I could do.”

The Leader:

Neirin Roberts and Verrol Skerritt either side of coach Craig Hulme

At the Amateur British Powerlifting Union North Wales qualifiers held in Rhyl he smashed four British records.

Now the determined business analyst has his sights set on breaking all four of his own records again before competing in the world finals.

To do that, he must increase the weight he lifts from a combined 587.5kg to a whopping 600-620kg.

“I think I can do that,” he said.

He added: “I will attempt to break my own records at the British finals in May 2020 and qualify to compete in the World finals representing Great Britain - but more importantly North Wales.

“This journey started 12 months ago walking into Valhalla gym and speaking with coach Craig Hulme. there have been massive highs and lows in that 12 months. There were times that I wanted to give up because at 52 I’m not getting any younger.

“But with some great coaching and patience it all came together with British records in all three categories.”

Founder of Valhalla Gym, Craig Hulme said that the second day of the qualifier saw great performances from two men who were competing for the first time.

He said: “Neirin Roberts in the highly competitive 110kg class took third place with a total of 657.5kg.

“After a disappointing squat by his standards of 250kg he did a 135kg bench and a new pb of 272 5kg on the dead. After only 15 months of serious lifting this is great going.

“The British finals are going to have new contender.”

He added: “Verrol Skerritt hit a new British record in the masters 3 110kg class. A total of 587.5kg, with a 200kg squat, 145 bench and 242.5kg deadlift (pb) were fitting reward for a lot effort (and whining) these past 11 months.

“Well done you two. Looking forward to the next six months now.”

Verrol, who works more than 40 hours a week as a business analyst, has four grandchildren.

“I love them to bits,” he said.

He goes to the Rhosddu gym four times a week for training in preparation for the British and European qualifiers that he hopes will see him rise to the top 55 in his division and earn a place at the world finals at the end of 2020.