Lighten up and support crucial work of hospice

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Fundraisers who found a fresh fitness focus taking part in the first Biggest Loser challenge in aid of the Hospice Of St Francis are banging the drum for this year’s event.

They’re keen to encourage others to sign up for this year’s programme, and spreading the word about the win-win proposal on offer to anyone looking to learn how to adopt a healthier lifestyle while supporting the Northchurch-based charity.

Wendy Backhouse, 39, from Berkhamsted was one of the class of 2012 which raised more than £30,000 for the good cause.

She spotted the recruiting call in the Gazette just two days before the deadline, but has no regrets about putting her name forward at the last minute.

She said: “I was really nervous before going to the first meeting but after about 10 minutes, and having met all the lovely people from the hospice who made me feel really relaxed, I was ok.”

“The first weigh-in was horrible but then we got into little groups and saw the nutritionist who gave us some absolutely brilliant tips on eating habits.

“Then we saw the personal trainer and he put together a really focussed plan.

“It was hard at first to motivate myself to go alone. I did go once with someone else but we found we were doing more talking then exercising!

“I ended up going to the gym up to six times a week.

“My personal trainer from Sportspace supported me 100 per cent and he still does now whenever I see him at the gym, which I still go to four times a week.

“The staff there are fantastic and everyone is so encouraging.

“The experience has 100 per cent changed my life. I used to walk for 10 minutes and be out of breath and now I’m not at all.

If I can do it, then anyone can do it.”

Wendy visited the hospice soon after starting the programme.

“It really helped me understand what I was raising the money for,” she said.

“I did a quiz event at The Goat in Berkhamsted and male friends of mine volunteered to have their legs shaved, which all helped me to raise a staggering £2,275 for the charity.”

The Hospice of St Francis is looking for 20 people to take part in this year’s Biggest Loser Challenge. In just 12 weeks you could change your life forever – and change the lives of patients cared for by the hospice and their families. If you want to take part, you must register by noon on Wednesday, February 27. Visit for further details