THE long-standing owner of a much-loved Canvey gym has announced he is stepping down to enjoy his retirement as two 22-year-olds prepare to take charge.

Mike Reed, 22, and Jack Young, 22, have been handed keys to take over Lifestyle Fitness Gym, in Point Road, on Canvey.

The pair have been working at the gym since the age of 16 under the current owner, Dave Rowe.

Dave, and wife Angie, 57, have owned the business for more than 16 years but have decided now is the time to retire.

The 58-year-old has sold his business to Mike and Jack who will have an official opening next Friday, re-opening the business as Level Up Fitness.

Despite changing the name, and logo, the gym will have the same community ethos as it has had over the years.

Dave said: “It feels a bit surreal still. I absolutely love what I do.

“We had taken out a 10-year lease not too long ago, so we had to make a decision to either stay for the 10 years or sell on the business.

“But my wife and I want to start enjoying our time while our health is still good. We want to travel the world. So, we have made the decision to retire.

“I am so proud of the boys, though. They have been here a long time. The clients feel really happy as they know them.

“I didn’t ever want to sell it to a national chain or franchise, as this gym has its own heart and soul.

“I know they are changing its name and logo, but it is keeping that ethos, of the community being at the heart, and continuing the charity work.

“And even though they are taking over, they know where we are if they ever need help or advice.”

Dave has suffered with his health over the years, after having heart surgery in 2010, before having a pacemaker fitted in 2016.

Mike and Jack are both excited, and nervous about taking over the gym, but are up for the challenge.

Mike added: “We have some very exciting ideas for the gym, and we want to take it to the next level.

“This is a special gym, and it separates itself from any other with the community it has built up.

“We look forward to making this gym the best on Canvey and bringing our community even closer than it already is.”