Losing pounds to raise pounds

PUMPING IRON: Councillor Stephen Akers-Belcher, the chairman of Hartlepool Borough Council, works out in his quest to lose weight
PUMPING IRON: Councillor Stephen Akers-Belcher, the chairman of Hartlepool Borough Council, works out in his quest to lose weight

A COUNCIL chief has issued an open invite for people to get fitter and shed a few pounds – in aid of his chosen charities.

Chairman of Hartlepool Borough Council, Councillor Stephen Akers-Belcher is staging an event with a healthy theme in his Civic Centre parlour from 10am-1pm on Friday, July 13.

It is all part of his commitment to open up the parlour and forge closer links with townspeople by staging a range of different functions during his year in office.

For the first event, he is inviting members of the public and council employees to call in and sign up for a sponsored slim, undergo some basic health checks and obtain advice and information on issues such as healthy eating and sports and physical activity opportunities across the town.

Hartlepool health trainers will be there to record people’s weight, height and body mass index (BMI), while the Tees Cardiovascular Nurse Team will carry out pulse and blood pressure tests and give advice on heart health.

The council’s sport and physical activity team will provide activity taster sessions and a range of other information, and visitors to the event will be able to get ideas for increasing their every-day activity levels.

Money raised at the event and via the sponsored slim will go towards Councillor Akers-Belcher’s seven nominated charities, all of which are local youth-based organisations – The Belle Vue Youth Project, Central Correctors, Hartlepool Young Carers, NYPD (Nurturing Young People’s Development), The Phoenix Funsters, The Rifty Youth Project and The Wharton Annexe.

Coun Akers-Belcher is already leading by example by pledging to lose up to two stone in the sponsored slim.

He called on others to sign up, but stressed: “Weight loss should be about sensible lifestyle changes and not fad diets. The professionals on hand will be able to provide advice on healthy eating coupled with the importance of increasing activity levels.”

He said that people who didn’t want or need to lose weight could still help to raise money by sponsoring him and buying tickets for a raffle to be held on the day that offers a range of prizes, including a £50 voucher donated by the town’s Spring’s health club.

Councillor Akers-Belcher added: “I thought it would be a good idea to start the series of chairman’s parlour events by highlighting the importance of a healthy lifestyle and promoting what is available across the town in terms of sport and physical activity opportunities.

“The event is also a celebration of the excellent work carried out by staff from the council and Hartlepool Primary Care Trust (PCT) to improve the lives of Hartlepool people.”