SLIMMING club members in Huddersfield shed an astonishing 213 stones in weight and raised more than £1,700 for charity after accepting a 12-week weight loss challenge.

Up to 300 slimmers from Slimmer World clubs run by consultant Caroline Moore took part in the marathon event and presented the Forget Me Not Children’s Hospice with their hard-earned cash. The 2,890 lbs they lost between them equate to well over a ton.

Caroline, who runs groups in Dalton, Skelmanthorpe, Lindley, Marsh, Meltham, Linthwaite and Milnsbridge, said: “The fact we were raising money for charity helped them to stay focussed.

“Seventeen slimmers actively raised money by getting sponsors but everyone put money in a collecting tin at their weekly weigh-ins.”

The average weight loss per member was around 10lbs but one super slimmer, from the Lindley class, lost more three stones.

Brendan Callaghan, 63, emerged as the champion slimmer – personally raising £60 for the charity.

Brendan, who works for a materials handling supply company in Huddersfield, joined the class in February, the week before the challenge began. He is one of just five men in a class of up to 40.

Weighing in originally at over 16 stones, Brendan says his goal was to lose weight for his daughter’s wedding in September and he is now just a few pounds away from his goal of 12 stones 7lbs.

His chest size has gone from 46ins to 42 and his waist has dropped from 41ins to 35.

A keen cook and vegetable grower – he has an allotment in Marsh – Brendan says his downfall was “too much home-made bread – about a loaf a day – and pints of olive oil to dip it in.”

“I also love cooking curries but I have learned how to make them virtually fat free.

“Eating healthily is a lifestyle not a diet. You have to be organised and plan what you are eating.”

According to Caroline, a former nurse, there are health benefits to be gained from losing a relatively small amount of weight.

“Losing just 10% of your weight reduces the risk of high blood pressure, heart disease and diabetes,” she explained.

Some members of her groups raised up to £300 in the weight loss challenge and the members have decided to adopt the children’s hospice as their charity.

“We’re keen to continue supporting them,” said Caroline. “I asked the members to choose a charity and that was their overwhelming choice.

“Even when the hospice has finished building, it will need money to keep it running.”