TRIBUTE has been paid to a 71-year-old retired teacher who has undergone a life-changing transformation – and is now inspiring others.

In 2005, Lorna Smith had ballooned in weight and was struggling with her health. And new depths were reached when her mum died after losing her own battle against illness.

Lorna tipped the scales at nearly 16 stones.

Now, she is still asthmatic and suffers from arthritis.

But she weighs-in at just eight stones 9lbs and is helping fellow members of WW, formerly Weight Watchers, to shed the pounds and change their own lives.

Lorna, from Cross Hills, began attending slimming classes in 2006 – but remembers her reluctance.

“A friend dragged me along to a meeting,” she said.

“I was convinced I could lose more weight on my own.

“But something in me just clicked and I was soon celebrating success – I began to lose weight every week.”

She quickly reached her initial goal of 11st 7lbs – which was a bittersweet moment, coinciding with the anniversary of her mum’s death.

A conversation with her GP convinced Lorna she had made the right decision about trying to shed weight.

“My doctor was pleased with me – and when I jokingly said if I hadn’t have lost weight I would have been in my mum’s wheelchair, he said quite seriously yes I would have been,” she added.

Lorna is currently receiving the support of WW and sharing her experiences with fellow members through virtual workshops.

“Lockdown hasn’t been easy but the virtual workshops have been a great help and the support I receive, the encouragement and sharing of my food plans have helped me,” she said.

WW coach Denise Walker pays tribute.

“Lorna really is inspirational,” she said.

“She has seen so many changes over the years, but always embraces new science-based plans and supports and encourages others to do the same.

“I’m incredibly proud of her and love the positivity and motivation she now shares in our virtual workshops. I am honoured to be Lorna’s coach and to support her in maintaining her fabulous weight loss. Well done Lorna, you’re amazing!”