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Presenter Noel Thompson: me and my health

By Helen Carson

Published 27/10/2015

Noel Thompson
Noel Thompson

The BBC Northern Ireland broadcaster (59), who presents Good Morning Ulster and Spotlight, lives in Belfast with his wife, Sharon. They have two sons, Matthew (28) and Patrick (23).

Do you take regular exercise - and if so what?

I walk a lot, hill-walking in particular. I spend a lot of time in the Mournes and I love to cycle too. I exercise at least four days a week - more if I can do it.

What's been the worst illness you have ever had?

Well, I fell off my bike and broke my collar bone about five years ago which certainly wasn't the most pleasant of experiences. I was out of action for about six weeks.

How healthy is your diet?

I like to think it is very healthy but I do have a weakness for crisps and chocolate. I am very aware of what is healthy and I try to stick to that a far as possible. It's all about balance.

Any bad habits?

Crisps, chocolate and liquorice. I always make my own popcorn and probably put too much salt on it.

Do you drink/smoke - and if so how much?

I don't smoke cigarettes, but I will smoke half a dozen cigars throughout the year. I haven't really smoked since my teens, from the age of 14 to 18. When I was younger I lived with a couple of German guys in London who were sports fanatics and while under their influence learned how to be healthy. Yes, I drink but not to excess. I like wine and having spent some time in the West Indies I drink dark rum and am very fond of malt whiskey, which I have occasionally.

Do you take any health supplements?

No, although my wife Sharon is always telling me that I should be taking supplements like glucosamine - so no doubt that will happen. She is very much into taking vitamins, but I think as long as you are pretty healthy you don't need to. I'm healthy and don't feel a great need for these things.

How do you take time out?

Through fitness and exercise. I also do a lot of singing with a choir which is, in one sense, not relaxation - it's a hobby which I do four days a week, for three to four hours a day. I sing with Belfast Philharmonic, so singing is the main way I take time out. I spent 10 years playing piano and put quite a lot of effort in, but I don't really do it anymore.

How well do you sleep?

Not well, particularly, as I get up at 4am for Good Morning Ulster. I go to bed at 9.30pm, read for half an hour, wake up after having had a nice dream ... then I realise it is 11.30pm. I will be awake until 3am and at that stage there doesn't seem much point in gong back to sleep. I do get a good night's sleep but an early morning shift is disruptive to life.

Do you worry about getting old?

(Laughs uproariously) I am old, I don't worry about getting old. I'd love to worry about getting old. I am 60 this year. I was fine when I turned 30, 40 and even 50, I sailed through them - they didn't cause me any worry at all, but turning 60 to me is horribly old. I moisturise my skin because when you work in TV you use a lot of make-up then your face gets cleaned with baby wipes, so you have to moisturise - so I do, everyday, it is part of my daily routine.

What is your go-to product/habit that keeps you feeling healthy?

I think exercise. When I am out walking in the Mournes I feel that I am doing something healthy - it is so liberating and such good fun. I will go for a three-hour walk and listen to some opera on my iPod and will walk until the music stops - it is just wonderful.

Belfast Telegraph

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