People are being encouraged to shed extra pounds gained over the Christmas period and raise some funds for Michael Sobell Hospice.

The hospice at Mount Vernon Hospital, in Rickmansworth Road, Northwood, launches its Pounds Off, £s In fundraising challenge in the New Year to encourage healthy eating and weight loss.

The 12-week challenge will see those who may have over-indulged on mulled wine, mince pies and a few too many trimmings with their turkey shed pounds and raise some cash for the hospice charity.

For a £20 registration fee, people can join a weight loss group, receive day passes for Highgrove Fitness Centre, in Eastcote Road, Ruislip, and attend weekly weigh-ins and meetings on Wednesday evenings at the hospice in Northwood.

Each meeting will feature a nutrition talk or exercise challenge including zumba, tai chi, yoga and Bollywood dancing.

There will also be a weekly pep talk to keep people motivated by Martinne Aston of Gymophobics in Victoria Road, Ruislip Manor.

Those taking part will be invited to eat healthily, keep a food and exercise diary and join a special Facebook group, where members can keep in touch and support each other.

Participants are asked to raise at least £250 in sponsorship over the three month challenge and the person who loses the most amount of weight will receive a hair makeover by HOB Salons, in Hatch End, and a three month subscription to Gymophobics.

The first meeting will be held on Wednesday, January 7 at 7pm when people interested in taking part will be invited to a weigh-in and fitness assessment.

Last year’s winner, Eddie O’Sullivan, lost an impressive two stone (around 12.5kg), during the challenge and raised more than £3,750 for the hospice.

He said: "I was 123kg when I started the challenge last January. My target was to get my weight down to under 100kg. The challenge was great fun and we all supported each other throughout the weeks.

"Michael Sobell Hospice is a fantastic organisation which I have supported for over 20 years. I wanted to take off the pounds that I didn’t need and give the hospice the pounds they desperately need.

"The challenge gave me the incentive and encouragement to keep on losing weight until August this year, when I reached my target of 99.9kg. In total, I lost 3st 10lb and 8.5 inches off my waist," he said.

For more details and to register, go to or call Ophelia on 01923 844 829.