A personal trainer whose parents both died of cancer has turned the hall of her historic 15th century home into a fitness studio to raise cash for the North Wales NHS charity with a series of online exercise videos.
Elaine Pritchard, 57, an NHS management consultant who lost her dad when she was 13 and was 28 when her mum died, is recording the live sessions four times a week at her traditional Welsh hall house near Llandyrnog, in the Vale of Clwyd.
She puts them out on Facebook to be enjoyed live or on recording, on Monday morning and evening and Wednesday and Thursday evenings.
The mother of two fits them around her Clinical Commissioning job dealing with the Covid-19 epidemic with the NHS which was based in Oldham before lockdown meant she had to work from the home her cabinet-maker husband, Gwyn Dowell, has restored.
She said: “I wanted to raise money for Awyr Las for the North Wales Cancer Centre at Glan Clwyd Hospital because both my parents died of cancer and while there is understandably a lot of focus on the Covid-19 pandemic many people are still suffering from cancer.
“I’m one of four children and we lived in Old Colwyn and my dad, Thomas, died at Abergele Hospital when I was 13 and my mum, Audrey, died at 28 in the days when she used to have to be taken to Clatterbridge Hospital on the Wirral in a minibus for treatment.
“Mum had breast cancer initially and then later ovarian cancer and in those days you had to go to Clatterbridge for chemotherapy and she would be only one on the minibus who wasn’t smoking.
“She was staying at the hospital but as per her wishes we brought her home and looked after her there and used to sleep on the floor at the foot of her bed so she wouldn’t know we were there.”
Elaine had always been interested in personal fitness and her ambition to be a personal trainer dates back to her early 20s although she didn’t actually commit to it until she was 51 and already the mother of two sons.
She said: “I have been a self-employed business consultant working with a lot of third sector organisations for a long time and had lived in London before coming back to North Wales.
“I did my qualifications and since then I have kept up with the latest developments and I enjoy the mix of occupations – I learned a long time ago not to put all your eggs in one basket.
“I really enjoy it because it is so important to look after yourself as you get older.
“I ran the classes free for the first few weeks but make a charge of £12 a month which apart from a cover charge for the music I use, all goes to Awyr Las for cancer support.
“This is special to me and will help fund some of the added extras the NHS is unable to provide, making a real difference for local patients and their families when they need it the most.
“My mum had to travel all the way to Clatterbridge for her treatments but we now have a centre of excellence close to home and some wonderful new treatments that are highly successful in the fight against cancer.
“Cancer hasn’t gone away because of Covid-19. It is still there and people suffering from cancer and their families still need support.”
For more information on Awyr Las NHS Charity go to https://awyrlas.org.uk/ and to enrol on Elaine’s personal training Facebook page go to https://www.facebook.com/groups/1253428714864640/ and ask to join or to simploy donate go to https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/elaine-pritchard-fusion-fitness.