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Biggest Loser campaign a winner

Westports biggest loser
George Forde, from Westport, puts five sorry losers through their paces in his gym at Lough Lannagh, Castlebar.

‘Unbelievable scenes’ ensure successful Biggest Loser campaign will return

Edwin McGreal


SIX weeks, six stone and over six thousand euros later, the inaugural Westport’s Biggest Loser competition for Western Care ended in ‘unbelievable scenes’ on Easter Sunday, with a total weight loss of 83lbs between the five participants.
For something that started as ‘a bit of craic between two fools, and ended up being a bit of craic between five fools’ as Neill O’Neill stated, the group isdelighted with how the whole campaign turned out. The flagship event and collection day occurred on Easter Saturday when a ‘Cycleathon’ took place on Bridge Street. Over €2,100 was collected in buckets over four hours thanks to generous donations from the people of Westport and visitors to the town, and there were some well-known faces on hand to help with the cycling, including personalities from across the business, political, and sporting communities. Outside of this the five lads did their own quiet collections, leaving it up to people to sponsor them - which they did - without undue pressure.
Neill O’Neill recorded the biggest weight loss ( -22lbs) by a mere one pound over Brendan Mulroy  ( -21lbs) . Michael Killeen, who is rumoured to have had Lucozade and chips for breakfast on Easter Monday, lost 19lbs, Kenneth Lavelle lost 12lbs and Kevin Kelly lost 9lbs.
There were ‘unbelievable scenes’ in The Jester Pub as an unexpected but enormous crowd showed up for the weigh-out and announcement on Easter Sunday night. The highlight of the evening was undoubtedly the premiering on the big screen of a hilarious DVD that was professionally made, free of charge, by Brian Durcan, showcasing the efforts of the five in training. It included  breathless interviews taken during work-outs explaining the whole concept and campaign. After the formalities were completed and the winner announced, there was plenty of singing, dancing and all-round merriment, as hundreds of people got involved in the wrap-up party for the event.
“This was never planned to be on the scale it was,” O’Neill admitted. “Some people who didn’t know any better were saying why didn’t ye do this or that, but we never planned any of it out, the idea came up and it just snowballed from there, getting bigger and bigger as each week went on and a new dimension was added to it. Even on the final night, we just rolled with it, and I think it worked well that way, nobody was stressed out or panicking about anything, whatever happened, happened, and with almost €7,000 raised for Western Care and us all feeling better about ourselves - except Kelly - I’d have to call that a great success for all concerned. You have to bear in mind where this came from and who was involved. There’s nothing we’d change about it, anyone that was in The Jester on Easter Sunday had a brilliant night, even if it was a bit mad.”
The winner also admitted that there was plenty of fun along the way. “There was of course a huge social emphasis running throughout the entire campaign, not alone in meeting up outside of training, which happened maybe too much, but in the various training sessions themselves. George Forde took us under his rather large wings and worked us hard in his gym at Lough Lannagh, at Springfield, on  The Reek and on the Westport Greenway for six weeks. Without that the whole campaign would probably have been less social and not at all structured, and people might not have stuck at it. We cannot thank him enough for his contribution.”
Brendan Mulroy added that people who saw the fanfare, camaraderie and above all the results, have said that they would love to participate in such an event.
“The Biggest Loser will be back next year in an updated format,” he concluded.
Watch this space!

View the training video www.youtube.com/2012westerncareloser

HAVE YOUR SAY email edwinmcgreal@mayonews.ie with your comments

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