COUPLES who slim together are celebrating after losing a total of 35 stone.
Losing their love handles are 10 members of the same Sunderland weight loss group – and two have clinched places in a national slimming competition.
Taxi driver Graeme Wharton and wife Lisa, from Ryhope, are through to the semi-finals of Slimming World Couple of the Year after losing a total of 10 stone.
The childhood sweethearts met on a training scheme at Vaux Brewery aged 17 and 16, and say they have never been slimmer in the run up to their 20th wedding anniversary.
They now exercise every week, along with children Jack, 18, and Alice, 15, and are running a half-marathon for charity.
Teacher Lisa said: “It makes me smile that we are older but look fitter. We are both doing the Great North Run.
“Alice comes to bootcamp in Seaham with me and Jack goes running with his dad.
“When they were kids, we didn’t do the healthy eating thing but it has kicked in over the last few years.
“We want to show them it is fun and not a chore.
“Graeme couldn’t run for the bus but now he is running for the Meningitis Trust, as Jack had meningitis aged two.”
Pallion couple Tony and Pauline Wilkinson, both 52, lost six stone after Tony’s failing health led to his GP referring him to Slimming World and Pauline joined to give him moral support.
Retired prison officer Steve Howe, from Seaburn, was also advised to lose weight by medics before a double knee replacement.
The 56-year-old lost three stone before his operation in August and wife Carole, 55, also lost more than a stone.
Fellow slimmer John Sheard, 68, and wife Sue, 55, from Silksworth, lost four and a half stone, ready for the retired policeman’s knee replacement operation in April.
Together retired schoolteacher Hilary Walker, 55, who suffers from MS, and husband and carer Dave, 60, shed four stone. Bridal shop owner Pirjo Walton, 66, from Silksworth, is enjoying a new lease of life since she and husband Jim, 69, a retired teacher, lost five stone and can now go running and dancing together.
Slimming World consultant Wendy George said “I am so proud of all my members. These are just a few examples of some of the amazing people who come to group.
“I am wishing Graeme and Lisa the best of luck at the semi-finals – they are already winners.”
Wendy’s sessions take place in St Gabriel’s Church Hall on Wednesdays and Thursdays. Call 564 0236 for more information.