A WORLD famous bodybuilding judge and contest organiser is celebrating 60 sparkling years in the industry this year.

Jim Charles, who runs Jim's Gym in Lye, has spent a lifetime mentoring and inspiring musclemen and women - and despite turning 79 earlier this month he’s not planning to stop pumping iron anytime soon.

Jim said: “Last year I was 78 and feeling great. Now I’m 79 and feeling fine. I intend to pack it in when I'm dead."

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Internationally renowned Jim, who is honorary life president and chairman of NABBA (National Amateur Body-builders' Association, is set to celebrate his 60 diamond years in bodybuilding with a series of shows at Brierley Hill Civic Hall.

The first takes place this Sunday (April 22) and is a qualifying round for the Mr Universe show which will be held at the ICC Birmingham on November 10.

The other anniversary shows will also run at the civic hall in October and November.

Jim, who still does three sessions at the gym every week as well as playing table tennis regularly, took up bodybuilding after spending two years in hospital with acute rheumatism and rheumatic fever in his teens.

Despite fears for his future - gutsy Jim survived his ordeal and turned to weight lifting to build up his strength.

Back in 1958 he started what was then known as Wordsley Physical Culture Club at at the old Wordsley Institute in Wordsley High Street. But before long the club became known as Jim’s Gym after the phrase was spotted in a national newspaper cartoon.

In 1965 Jim’s Gym - as it has been known ever since - moved into a former school building in Chapel Street, Lye, where it has been going strong for 53 years.

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These days it also boasts a thriving mixed martial arts club Urban Prospects MMA - and like most modern gyms members can access the facilities 24-7.

Despite his advancing years - Jim, a grandfather of two, is showing no signs of slowing down.

As well as the civic hall bodybuilding shows, he also organises the annual Mr Universe contest which attracts top level bodybuilders from around the world and which made a welcome return to Birmingham last October after a break of around 16 years.

Back in the early days - when a pre-Hollywood Arnold Schwarzenegger was making a name for himself on the NABBA bodybuilding circuit - the show used to be held in London’s West End.

But when Jim took over the reigns the show moved to Birmingham then Southport before he eventually signed a deal to bring it back to the Midlands once more.

This time, for the first time in its history, the show will feature a men’s fitness/modelling section as well as traditional bodybuilding classes.

To find out more about the forthcoming shows go to www.nabba.co.uk