WHO is Sunderland’s Biggest Loser?
Here are the finalists in a year-long competition to get Wearsiders moving and to change their attitude to health and fitness – for life.
Fitness 2000 in Roker teamed up with the Echo to find 10 people willing to undertake the challenge to tackle their weight, with the help of dedicated trainers from the gym.
At the end of the year, the person who changes their body the most will win £1,000, a free gym membership, a photo shoot with David Lawson Photography and a hair makeover with Jen Deighton Hairdressers for the shoot.
Among the finalists are mum-of-five Denise Wooton, from Millfield.
The 38-year-old, who works as a care assistant, has found it difficult in the past to work exercise into her busy daily routine, but she’s hoping this contest will be the key to her making a change.
“I was nervous at first about starting this competition, but the way it’s been discussed with us has really put me at ease,” she said.
“Meeting the other finalists is great too, as it’s vital to have that support from each other.”
Fellow finalist Peter Quinn, 34, from Seaham, hopes the contest will help him become a healthier dad for son Isaac, two.
“Isaac is my inspiration,” he said. “I’m sick of being tired when I take him to the park.
“I want to be healthier for him. I saw the story looking for contestants in the paper and thought it would be the perfect way to make a change.”
The contest was devised by gym owner Les Ojugbana after watching ITV’s Weight Loss Ward, filmed in Sunderland Royal Hospital, and Wearside being ranked sixth from the top of the UK’s 150 most inactive places to live.
“Shows like Weight Loss Ward haven’t shown Sunderland in the greatest light, but I want to be able to stop people having to resort to surgery to lose weight. You can do it with diet and exercise,” he said.
Each week the Losers will have training sessions with a specialist team from the gym: trainer Faye Werbelow, who herself has lost five stone; MMA fighter and fitness trainer “O” Okunnu and Andrew Jameson, who specialises in nutrition.
They will also be given nutrition advice and other health tips over the course of the 12 months.
Les said: “It’s been great to meet the finalists, they all seem really motivated, which is key.
“I wanted this to be a year-long contest, because I don’t want it to be a quick fix. We want to get them into a regime that they can stick to and make part of their life.”
The final 10
•Denise Wooton, 37, from Millfield.
Starting weight: 17st 13lbs. Height: 5ft 7in.
•Sarah Hagan, 38, from Farringdon. Starting weight: 21st. Height: 5ft 4in.
•Peter Quinn, from Seaham.
Starting weight: 17st 13lbs. Height: 5ft 9in.
•Tom Batey, 49, from Ryhope.
Starting weight: 14st. Height: 5ft 7in.
•Daniel Batey, 21, (Tom’s son).
Starting weight: 18st . Height: 5ft 11in.
•Phillip Dempster, 53, from Hylton Castle. Starting weight: 18st 9lbs. Height: 5ft 6in.
•Emma Dougherty, 21, from Grindon.
Starting weight: 21st 8lbs.
•Derek Carr, 50. Starting weight: 15st. Height: 6ft.
•Rachel Turnbull, 35, from Pennywell.
Starting weight: 16st Height: 5ft 5in.
•Tracy Robinson, 46, from Houghton.
Starting weight: 18st. Height: 5ft 4in.