Star slimmer Matt goes from pupil to teacher

AN inspirational slimmer who lost almost four stone at a pioneering community weight loss challenge has gone from pupil to teacher.

Businessman Matt Matharu has trained to become a Hartlepool Arriba! Wellness Club coach, under the guidance of award-winning health coach Jackie Liddle, and now has the T-shirt to prove it.

The 46-year-old is now launching his own weight loss challenges in conjunction with Jackie.

They will run two challenges each in Hartlepool and hope to add another in a bid to offer the innovative challenges five days a week.

The novel programme offers cash prizes to those losing the biggest percentage of their body weight with prizes of 300, 200 and 100 depending on class sizes. The sessions focus on fun, friendship, support and encouragement.

Matt, of Elwick Road, Hartlepool, who now tips the scales at 11st 6lb, scooped the top prize in a recent challenge but was not motivated by the cash and gave his winnings to charity.

The wealthy care home owner initially joined the classes for health and fitness reasons after hitting 15st 2lb but said he was struck by the advice and support he got having previously tried numerous weight loss techniques.

He said: "I thoroughly enjoyed the classes and found the format very simple and easy to follow.

"My fellow participants were so supportive and the classes enjoyable. As a result the weight came off and I was subsequently taken off blood pressure medication.

"I am very passionate about my health and after watching Jackie change scores of people's lives for the better I can see this as something I can actively get involved in.

"I have seen the changes the classes have made to the likes of 53-year old Chris who lost 70lbs and 44-year-old Iain who lost over 50lbs.

"Helping to change people's approach to their health is so rewarding, and I'm really excited about becoming an Arriba! coach."

Jackie, who has been running the successful Hartlepool Arriba! Wellness Club's challenges for more than 18 months has helped local people lose more than 300 stone in that time.

She said Matt's determination was evident from the first day he joined the classes.

She said: 'Matt is excited about running his own challenges, his own results have inspired him to help our community as I do.

"It's a pleasure to have Matt on board with the Hartlepool Arriba! Wellness Club and I'm looking forward to working together with the common goal of changing the health of people in Hartlepool, challenge by challenge, person by person."

The classes cost 39 for 12 weekly sessions and an initial registration class with the money covering the prizes and running costs.

Matt's new challenge will start on Wednesday, January 19, at 6.45pm.

Further details of the community challenges are available at j.liddle2@ntlworld.com or 07939518948.