Deb Kelly, occupational health advisor at Newcastle Premier Health, is jetting off on the trip of a lifetime, thanks to Newcastle Pride and Manchester Airport.
Deb, 54, won a fundraising draw for leading LGBT festival Newcastle Pride and scooped up a prize of two return direct flights to San Francisco and £1000 worth of accommodation vouchers.
Newcastle Pride 2017, sponsored by business improvement district NE1, teamed up with this year’s main stage sponsor, Manchester Airport, to provide the coveted prize to the airport’s newest destination.
Deb, who has recently lost over half of her body weight after shedding a staggering 14 stone, is an avid runner who regularly participates in extreme sporting challenges.
The occupational health advisor, who has worked full time as a nurse since 1981, began her weight loss journey back in 2013 when her friend challenged her to do the Great North Run, which she completed in four hours. Following the Great North Run, Deb continued to exercise regularly and in December 2014, made the life-changing decision to have a gastric bypass.
As a passionate runner, who runs at least three times a week, Deb intends to participate in an organised run whilst in San Francisco. On her trip, which she will take in August 2018, Deb will also see the sites of San Francisco including: The Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz and the famous Lombard Street; the crooked street which has appeared in numerous movies.
Deb said of the experience: “I couldn’t believe it when I found out I’d won. It came as a huge shock but I’m already looking forward to getting on that aeroplane – especially knowing that I no longer need to use a seatbelt extender.
“Adopting this healthy lifestyle has been life changing; and I think you need an incentive to do so. For me this was finding out I was going to become a grandparent. For anybody wishing to do the same I would say that the key is to make small changes which are achievable.
“I’m a keen runner, so I’m looking to find a run to do while I’m there – I’m determined to bag myself a San Fran running medal. The trip will be the perfect way to mark my weight loss and I’ll certainly be celebrating my win at this year’s Pride.”
Mark Philpott, business director, at Newcastle Premier Health said: “At Newcastle Premier Health we are all very happy for Deb, and would like to congratulate her on her big win.
“Deb’s personal achievement is an inspiration to us all, and in fact we will be launching a new health and wellness initiative during the next 12 months to help people focus on their reason to make changes in their lives to improve personal health.”
The popular festival, which attracted more than 73,000 visitors and contributed more than £10.4m to the economy in 2016, is returning with its largest ever line up 21 – 23 July 2017 at Newcastle Town Moor.