A HEXHAM hospital nurse has shed over eight stone.

Debbie Burgon began Slimming World in March 2015 - a year after her husband suddenly passed away. And her weight loss journey has since seen her do things she never thought possible.

Debbie and daughter Rebecca both attend the Hexham Community Centre group ran by consultant Caroline Elsom-Mekins.

"I had struggled with my weight for a long time and and had tried every diet known to man!", said Debbie. "I then gained the weight I’d lost and some more; my weight really spiralled out of control, until the point I was bursting out of my size 28 uniform. At only 5ft tall, I felt awful and very conscious, particularly working as a nurse in the NHS."

Debbie, who lost her weight by adapting her lifestyle through healthier Slimming World alternatives of favourite meals, has praised the support of her Slimming World 'family'.

She said: "My first step to a better life was when I plucked up the courage to walk through the door at Hexham Community Centre; we were greeted by a room full of people, with smiling faces and were welcomed into the group with open arms.

"That night, I saw one of the members receiving her five stone award, the look on her face was so joyful, this really struck a cord with me.

"I lost 6.5lbs my first week and was absolutely ecstatic! Week after week, I enjoyed seeing those pounds drop off.

"Any week I gained, there was help and advice from my consultant and other people in group. I stay to image therapy (group support) every week which is an absolute must, full of support, ideas and laughs.

"Slimming World, for me, is like a big family, everybody is there for the same reason, nobody ever judges you, there’s just tons of encouragement and continuous support whatever the result that week.

"I am now eight stone 6.5 lbs lighter, as a result I feel so much more confident and full of life! I have completed the Great North Run and The Carlisle Colour Run twice since joining group. Nothing feels out of reach anymore and that’s an amazing feeling.

"Joining Slimming World is one of the best decisions I’ve ever made, I have never looked back having walked through the doors to start on my journey."

Consultant Caroline is full of praise for Debbie's achievement. She added: "She (Debbie) is so supportive of everyone and has done amazingly well!"