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'I love politics - it keeps me alert and my mind focused'

Me & My Health: Tom Haire

The 70-year-old DUP Alderman was appointed High Sheriff of Belfast at Belfast City Hall at the weekend. He lives in east Belfast representing the Ormiston Ward.

Do you take regular exercise - and if so what?

Walking, which I enjoy doing around the area where I live, starting on the Holywood Road and finishing on Belmont Road. Occasionally I will walk into town which takes 35 minutes along the Newtownards Road as there are more distractions. I have walked into town when I have a committee meeting as it helps you think more clearly.

What's the worst illness you have had?

Bronchitis would be the most serious ailment, but generally I've enjoyed very good health. I took bronchitis last year and wasn't hospitalised, nor was I in my bed - it was a bit of a wake-up call, though. I just soldiered on and did everything I usually do and now I'm fine.

How healthy is your diet?

So-so, I do eat fruit and vegetables but there are times when regular mealtimes are difficult. Committee meetings at Belfast City Council tend to start at 5.30pm which is dinner time for me. I start my day with a bowl of porridge with semi-skimmed milk and toast for breakfast. Lunch now is fruit and a cup of tea which seems to keep me going. I love pears, apples, peaches or kiwi fruit.

Any bad habits?

I used to take sugar in my tea but now I don't, having tasted it without. I was visiting my mother in hospital once and took tea with no sugar and I liked it a lot better. Nor do I take salt after sitting beside a Harley Street doctor at a dinner. When I offered him salt he said it is bad for blood pressure, but pepper is good for sinuses. It was a free consultation, so I have paid attention to his advice ever since.

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

I don't smoke but like a glass of Australian red wine with an evening meal at the weekend. I have been in Australia four times and it's a wonderful country. As a councillor I was fortunate enough to be in Sydney on Anzac Day. I love McGuigan's wine and when I was there I visited the vineyard; at that stage it was the only place you could get it, now it's available everywhere.

Do you take any health supplements?

No, I'm not a pill popper. I only take tablets which are prescribed by the doctor.

How do you take time out?

Going to the theatre to see Gilbert & Sullivan musicals, listening to light classical music and reading. At the minute I'm reading Secret Victory: The Intelligence War that beat the IRA by Dr William Matchett, which is about the Royal Ulster Constabulary.

How well do you sleep?

Like a log. I go to bed at 11pm and am up about 7am. Generally I get up when I wake, I won't lie on as I would get a sore head.

Do you worry about getting old?

No, age is just one of those things, so why worry? It won't make any difference if you worry or not, so why bother? I love doing what I do, and being active in local politics keeps me alert and my mind focused. I don't foresee a day too soon when age will stop me doing this.

What is your go-to product or habit which keeps you feeling healthy?

Enjoying what I do which is being involved in civic life and the community as a council representative. I enjoy meeting people and that keeps me active. I have plenty of energy because I find this role interesting.

Interview by Helen Carson

Belfast Telegraph

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