Dame Mary Berry took up croquet to save her life.
A doctor told the Great British Bake Off judge, 87, she could be dead in four years if she didn’t start exercising.
Opening up about the scare, she told the Saturday edition (27.08.22) of the Daily Mail’s ‘Weekend’ magazine the warning came after she broke her hip in a fall while gardening in 2021 and had surgery at the Royal Berkshire Hospital, Reading, where she was laid up for days.
Dame Mary said: “My GP told me, ‘You’ve two options. You could sit in a chair and do no exercise and quite probably be dead in four years, or you can set to, walk (uphill too!) and do everything you can, and it’ll take 18 months for a full recovery’.
“And gosh, she was right. I’ve exercised and had lots of physio and it’s not quite normal yet, but it will be.”
Dame Mary added she was delighted to finally have a sport she can play with her husband Paul Hunnings, 90, to keep them healthy together.
She said: “We’ve just taken up croquet. I’ve never played a sport with my husband before because he says I have no ball sense.
“But we have lessons with a lovely Finnish lady – she is so patient with us and we absolutely love it! So it’s a great joy to play sport together at last.
“My husband used to play rugby for Saracens, and tennis and squash, but now he’s 90 he can’t. But croquet is perfect for people our age. We play for two hours and he says he’s knackered at the end but after a bit of a zizz he perks up again.”
Dame Mary was picking sweet peas when she tripped in August 2021, and had to wait three-and-a-half hours for an ambulance to arrive as she lay stricken with a shattered hip.
She has shared her doctor’s advice months ago she tested positive for Covid with her husband on a Corfu holiday, leading them to isolate together.