Thursday 07 February 2013
This may be their fifth successive season of Barclays Premier League football but these are lean times for some Stoke City fans - quite literally.
After taking part in the club’s ‘Drop a Shirt Size’ initiative, 38 Potters supporters completed the 12-week challenge and earned themselves a new 2012/13 official shirt into the bargain.
"It’s important we use the Stoke City badge to make a difference to people’s lives"
With physical activity sessions staged each week and nutritional advice given to every participant, the group reached their target of shedding 5% of their body weight, which amounted to an impressive 140kg, or 22 stone. Three of the group – Darren Ely, Paul Adams and Nick Moss – each lost two stone over the three months.
Their efforts were honoured on the Britannia Stadium pitch by Stoke player Ryan Shotton before the Barclays Premier League match against Wigan Athletic.
Stoke worked in conjunction with the Premier League’s Creating Chances scheme, NHS Stoke-on-Trent and the Lifestyle Programme to give people in the community the opportunity to make a big difference to their outlook on life.
“We wanted to help people change their lifestyle and live a healthy lifestyle, but we put a spin on it and said that if they dropped a shirt size, they would get a free Stoke City shirt,” said Stoke City Community Health Coach Andy Shingler. “We had a really good response – we had 70 people sign up for it originally, which was more than we thought we’d get.”
On average, each person lost 3.8kg over the 12 weeks, and Schools & Health Officer Warren Leat is convinced the positive experience will have lng-term benefits.
“It’s great to see them all working – at the end of the 12-week programme, they’ve all done really well," he said. "They’ve really enjoyed it as well, particularly the football side of it. It’s important that we set a good example, and use the Stoke City badge as a really powerful brand to make a difference to people’s lives and make them happy.”