Fighting flab and recession

L-r, Mark Rutherford (Kelso Sports Massage Clinic), Anne Brooks (Pharlanne, Delicatessen in Kelso) and Kevin Welsh (Abbey Fitness Centre) all promoting fitness and leisure in Kelso for the new year.
L-r, Mark Rutherford (Kelso Sports Massage Clinic), Anne Brooks (Pharlanne, Delicatessen in Kelso) and Kevin Welsh (Abbey Fitness Centre) all promoting fitness and leisure in Kelso for the new year.

TWEEDSIDERS are doing it for themselves.

Kelso businesses are fighting the recession and traditionally slow time of year with a drive to drum up trade and help people get fit after the excesses of the festive season.

Pharlanne delicatessen owner Anne Brooks came up with the initiative, inviting Kevin Welsh of local gym Abbey Fitness, sports massage therapist Mark Rutherford and others to join in the three-month campaign.

Mrs Brooks said: “We want to help our businesses and many people to have New Year resolutions to get fit and healthy – so we decided to combine the two.”

The core trio are inviting other local companies such as beauty therapists, shoe and clothes shops to offer participants discounts.

Abbey Fitness is putting on a special three-month membership deal and will help and monitor those taking part, and Mrs Brooks will stage healthy cookery demonstrations at the Bridge Street deli as well as offer tired health-kick participants a place to socialise after gym or massage sessions.

The team hope at least 20 people of all levels of fitness will get involved, with the aim of improving their health and shape over three months – and celebrate their achievements along the way by buying themselves healthy rewards at discounted prices from local shops.

And they are looking for a local celebrity to help give the campaign legs. They hope to print T-shirts and discount cards for supporters and anyone interested will be able to follow the campaign and people’s exploits on Facebook.

Mr Welsh said: “People have an idea of what they want to look and feel like, and if they are able to achieve that in 12 weeks and see the benefits and get discounts, it will be an achievement they will feel good about.” And he said the advantages of taking part in the Kelso health kick centred on the support local people could give each other. “It’s sociable – you meet up with other like-minded people and hopefully we’ll get everyone started by the 16th and people can compare their progress and talk about what they’re doing and encourage each other.”

Mrs Brooks, who will organise the cookery demonstrations, said: “It won’t be like dieting and all doom and gloom, that’s horrible, it’s about getting healthy and eating healthily, but if you want to have a treat, for example, chocolate, choose the best quality you can get.”

“A lot of people will look at something in the deli and think ‘that looks interesting and the packaging is lovely – what do I do with it?’ You don’t have to have butter with everything: fish can be quite bland, but you can add other things to flavour and I hope to introduce people to new things that are healthy and tasty.”

Former rugby player Mr Rutherford, who recently coached a group of women to cycle, horse-ride and run through Scotland on a charity fundraiser, said people gain most from massage if they have more than one treatment.

“Regular massage is very beneficial and a block of treatments has a cumulative effect. Massage helps increase flexibility, muscle tone and improve posture as well as reduce muscular pain – and it also promotes relaxation and wellbeing.”

Mrs Brooks, who is recovering from a back injury, and TheSouthern’s Sally Gillespie have already signed up. Registration for the local challenge is open until January 16 and anyone interested should contact Abbey Fitness on 01573 228280 or Mrs Brooks at