A WEIGHT-loss initiative is celebrating a hugely successful first year.

Weigh Better Together was started by former Keighley Weight Watchers coach Denise Walker, after she had to take redundancy during the pandemic, and ex-colleague Adele Wilkin.

Now 16 group meetings have been established and together members have shed a whopping 1,400 stones – over eight tons!

"It has been a fabulous first year," says Denise.

"Our mission is to provide a fun and supportive place where like-minded people get healthy together.

"Everything we recommend – calorie counting and/or eating from a healthy food list – is in line with NHS guidelines.

"We believe that support is key and we pride ourselves in giving that help ­– through our weekly meetings, the option of a Zoom session when people can't attend and an interactive Facebook group.

"We'd like to thank all of our members for supporting us."

Amongst those whose life has been changed is Julie Thompson-Dunne, who attends a Saturday group at the Keighley Shared Church hall.

"I have struggled with my weight all through my teens and adult life," she said.

"It has still not sunk in, but after 30-plus years of slimming clubs Weigh Better Together has done something that none of the others have.

"I felt something the day that I walked into the Saturday-morning group for the first time – hope. I knew I would do it, and I have! I got to goal, losing two-and-a-half stones – thanks to Denise, Adele and everyone in the group."

Another member singing the praises of the organisation is Sarah Firth, who attends Zoom sessions.

She said: "I've just been put on the waiting list for a new hip. The cut-off for surgery is a body mass index of 40, and mine is now 38. Had I seen the consultant a year ago I would not have fitted the criteria. It is changing my life."

The first year has also seen members raise thousands of pounds for local charities, through tea and coffee funds, including over £1,000 for Oxenhope Sue Ryder hospice Manorlands.

Manorlands supports patients with life-limiting illnesses and their families at the hospice and in the community, across an area covering Craven, Airedale, Wharfedale and parts of Bradford.

All services are free to patients and loved ones, but it costs £10,000 a day to keep the hospice running.

For more details about Weigh Better Together, visit weighbettertogether.com.