A WEIGHT Watchers leader from Malvern is celebrating clocking up 25 years of helping people across Worcestershire lose weight.

Julie Baker, who first moved to Malvern 29 years ago, originally joined to lose four stone.

Since then, however, she has become a group leader and helped thousands of people in Worcester, Pershore, Churchdown and Malvern lose weight.

She said: “As you can imagine I have seen many changes and innovations over the years with WW, all of them aimed at helping members become a much better version of themselves.

“To this day I still get so much pride and satisfaction from helping and watching members achieve their own personal wellness journeys.”

Two people who have been helped recently by Mrs Baker are Alison Palmer and Sami Heath, who have lost 175lbs (12.5 stones) between them.

Mrs Palmer went to Mrs Baker for help in June last year as she suffers from an auto-neurone condition and osteoarthritis.

Her medical team suggested steroids, painkillers, hydrotherapy and crutches, but 47 year-old Mrs Palmer instead joined Mrs Baker’s Worcester workshop.

Since joining the group, Mrs Palmer has lost seven stones in 14 months, dropping from 18.2 stones to 10 stones 12 lbs.

She said: “I am incredibly grateful to Julie for helping me turn my life around.

“Amazingly, I can now do a little exercise within my limitations and I enjoy walking.

“I also enjoy cooking and all the family partakes in healthy meals, the recipes to which I source through the WW app.”

Mrs Heath, 53, has dropped from 15 stone 10lbs to 10 stones 5lbs.

She said: “Julie is an amazing coach.

“She has the knack of saying all the right things to motivate you and keep you going on your journey.

“I joined just over a year ago having walked past a shop window and shuddering at what I saw staring back at me.

"Julie guided me from my eating habits of takeaways, no breakfasts and massive portions to a healthy, more satisfying way of eating.

“My terrier is also grateful to Julie as he now has lots more walks as I go for my daily exercise with him."

Mrs Baker added: “Overall it has been an amazing journey.

“For me, WW has always been about family and community.

“I’ve been lucky enough to see my members have their own families and even watched their children join as well.

“All in all it has been a privilege to support the people of this local community to lose weight and I am looking forward to the next 25 years.”