Revealed: Who won Sunderland Echo Gym of the Year?

Sunderland Echo Gym of the Year winners Club Zest owners Holly McBride-Donaldson and Jennie Moyse, with manager Lorraine Belford, centre, with their award.
Sunderland Echo Gym of the Year winners Club Zest owners Holly McBride-Donaldson and Jennie Moyse, with manager Lorraine Belford, centre, with their award.

Members and staff alike are celebrating after a women-only fitness centre won our Gym of the Year award.

Club Zest Ladies Leisure in Fulwell has lifted the honour after it topped the Echo’s poll.

Sunderland Echo Gym of the Year winners Club Zest owners Holly McBride-Donaldson and Jennie Moyse, with manager Lorraine Belford, centre, with their award.

Sunderland Echo Gym of the Year winners Club Zest owners Holly McBride-Donaldson and Jennie Moyse, with manager Lorraine Belford, centre, with their award.

And bosses are hoping the site will go from strength to strength now that it has the prestigious award on board.

The site was recently taken over by Holly McBride-Donaldson and Jennie Moyse, who both previously worked at the club as instructors.

The pair took over the reins and briefly closed the gym for an extensive £12,000 refurbishment before re-opening earlier this year.

The site, which city fitness instructor and former Apprentice contestant Katie Bulmer-Cooke was at the opening of, now includes new studio facilities and the latest equipment.

“Since we re-opened five months ago things have been brilliant,” said Holly.

“We’ve got about 200 new members signed up, which has been great.

“The gym has been ladies-only for about 20 years and we’ve got a nice community in here.

“They’re all friends who look to mix together and I think that makes the women feel more comfortable in that environment.”

Holly added that being named Gym of the Year came out of the blue.

“We didn’t expect to win at all because we were up against so many bigger clubs who have such big membership numbers.

“But our members have really got behind us so it’s a big thank you to them.”

The gym prides itself on being as accessible as possible, something which those running the venue hope will continue to give it added attention.

“We’re on the ball with social media and we’re pushing what we offer all of the time,” said Holly.

“We offer things like crèche facilities for women who’ve got children as well as mother and baby classes.

“The gym also opens at 6am for those who want to come in before they start work.

“Our aim is to make it as easy as possible for women to come along and keep fit.”