A VETERAN bodybuilder and gym owner with a distinguished career says he is ‘honoured’ to be invited to present awards at his old school’s sports day.

Chris, who has just been presented with a lifetime’s achievement award for bodybuilding in the South West, gave one of his own trophies earlier in his career to Sir James Smith’s School in Camelford, north Cornwall, to be awarded to promising students in sport.

Chris Dykes, 68, who runs the Body Zone gym in Tavistock, has been taking part in and organising bodybuilding events for 50 years. Two community events include running Sport Aid with Bob Geldof in Plymouth and a Children In Need event.

The school told Chris they had been trying to contact him to invite him for years and the latest publicity in the Tavistock Times drew the school’s attention to him as a celebrity former pupil.

Chris said: “I’m really touched that the school has invited me. It means a lot to be recognised in this way by my old school. I gave them my gold award winning bodybuilding British Championship trophy to the school when I was a lot younger. It was to be given annually to the most promising young sporting student most likely to excel in sport in the future. I guess I’ll be presenting that, which will be very fitting, and I’d be most proud to.”

The former Royal Marine and North Sea oil industry diver worked with the International Federation of Body Building to bring top bodybuilders in the world to the region, such as Arnold Swarzenegger in the Mr Olympia competitions.

He decided he wanted to be a marine while at school and was supported in his ambition by his PE teacher, but not by the then head who opposed violence: “I like to think I donated the trophy to show that we can all achieve our dreams, no matter what other people tell us. I like to think I can help youngsters do the same using my gym.”

Chris also supports veteran and serving service personnel to recover from injury and regain fitness.