A Mablethorpe man who reached the semi-finals of a contest to find the top male slimmers has been congratulated by soap star and model Gemma Atkinson.
Neville Roberts, 58, was one of only 34 entrants to win a place in the semi-finals of Slimming World’s Man of the Year 2015 contest after losing an amazing 8st 5.5lbs.
It was there that he met Gemma, who shot to fame in teen soap Hollyoaks and is currently starring in ITV1’s Emmerdale.
Gemma, who is well-known for her modelling work as well as her TV and film roles, swapped the Yorkshire Dales for Derbyshire when she met the 34 men at Slimming World’s head office in Alfreton.
She was extremely impressed by all their achievements, including Neville’s.
She commented: “It was a pleasure to meet Neville and hear all about his weight loss.
“He obviously looks great but I know from talking to him that it’s about much more than that.
“He’s improved his health and is feeling happier and more confident too.
“I’m sure his story will inspire so many other men in Mablethorpe to follow in his footsteps and make some healthy changes.
“I’ll be telling all the blokes on the Emmerdale set all about him, that’s for sure.”
Neville says it can be hard for men to admit that they need help to lose weight and especially difficult to walk through the doors of a slimming club for the first time.
He added: “When men want to lose weight they usually think about exercising more or following a diet on their own, not joining a group like Slimming World, so it was a big step for me but one I’m definitely glad I took.
“When I went to the group for the first time, I was worried that I’d be the only man there and stand out.
“It didn’t feel like that at all, everyone was really welcoming and the members made an effort to help me feel like part of the group.
“Ultimately it doesn’t matter if you’re a man or a woman, younger or older, because everyone in that group is there for the same reason – to lose weight, improve their health and feel better about themselves.
“I was proud of myself when I found out I’d made the finals of Slimming World’s Man of the Year competition. I didn’t lose weight to win a competition, but it was a nice bonus – and meeting Gemma was the icing on the cake.”
To find out more about joining the Mablethorpe Slimming World group call Lisa on 07792 486330 or visit www.slimmingworld.com.