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Exercise Referral Testimonials


“Amanda introduced me to Avondale 3 years ago. It was under the auspices of the PARiS scheme. Amanda also introduced me to the anti-gravity treadmill, upon which I was able to jog a little (when I could barely walk, unaided). 5 years ago I had a polytrauma as a result of a motorbike crash. As well as lots of broken bones, a punctured lung and kidney and a brain injury, I had 3 aneurysms, a partial loss of hearing, permanent double vision, a lack of feeling in my legs and feet, terrible stationary balance and memory / cognitive problems. 3 years on the PARiS programme and despite all these factors, I am now running almost every day (although I do need to make special plans to be able to run) and I have the @Alter-G anti-gravity treadmill to thank for getting me started. 🙂 My life has been changed forever. Thanks, Amanda and Life Leisure Avondale. 🙂 xxx ”

John, GP Referral (PARiS) participant at lifeLEISURE Avondale. December ‘18

John (1)

Paul Mottershead

Paul Mottershead

"My name is Paul Mottershead, I got referred to the PARiS scheme in October 2016 by my doctor after a hip op (no not the dance routine) in October 2015 as I was having problems with my iliopsoas muscle in my groin.

I met with Rocky the PARiS coach and after my induction he gave me a programme of exercises to follow, he was excellent and very professional and also friendly, but I let myself down, couldn’t motivate myself, and kept giving excuse after excuse and eventually stopped going after only 1 month.

Around 20 months later I was still suffering and my doc referred me to Stepping Hill for physio and after 5 sessions the physio referred me (again) to the PARiS scheme. I got in at Life Leisure Avondale (where my daughter Lynsey works on reception) and had an induction with Claire on 4th June 2018.

I found Claire to be just like Rocky in that she had the same professional attitude with a bubbly personality, I started going to the gym again following the programme Claire had set up for me but again motivation was lacking.

Claire gave me a talking to and the nicest rollicking I’ve ever had and certainly needed and I’ve not looked back. I also got diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in July 2018 so I put myself on a diet, stopped drinking alcohol, and go relentlessly to the gym 3 days a week with my mate Den (Mr. Motivator) and we motivate each other and have a good laugh ‘n giggle.

I have an assessment with Claire every 6 weeks and the improvements have been totally tip top and ticketyboo and since June 4th 2018 I have lost 4.2 stone and I can’t thank Claire and (Rocky) enough for their hard work, dedication and professional attitude and always with a smile on their faces.

Thank you for the bestest and nicest rollicking and the kick up the bum I needed Claire I can’t recommend Life Leisure Avondale enough. X"


Paul, GP Referral (PARiS) participant at lifeLEISURE Avondale. November '18


"A few months ago a routine blood test showed that I was pre-diabetes with a blood sugar level of 42.

As I didn’t need to lose weight and my diet wasn’t too bad I decided to increase my exercise as a mean of lowering my sugar level.

I was referred onto the PARiS scheme at my local Life Leisure centre in Brinnington for 2 sessions a week in the gym.

I was quite nervous about going, never having been in a modern gym before but I needn’t have worried. Rocky and all the staff there are so friendly and welcoming and make you feel at home. There is also a wide range of ages and abilities that attend the sessions, when I go I don’t feel out of place.

After just a few weeks attending my blood sugar level in now 32! Result!

So, thank you Life Leisure for a great set up and a lovely new facility place to visit."


Val, GP Referral (PARiS) participant at lifeLEISURE Brinnington Park. November ‘18

Val Paris Diabetes

Lucy Nield

When former catering worker Lucy Nield lost her husband to cancer six years ago, she became so depressed that she couldn’t leave the house. She had put on over four stone while caring for him and wanted to lock herself away. Now, a self-confessed gym addict, she has transformed her physical and mental health thanks to regular sessions with Life Leisure. Watch her short video and find out more about Lucy's inspirational story.

Lucy, GP Referral (PARiS) participant at lifeLEISURE Avondale. October '18

Paul Austin

"My name is Paul Austin. It was just over 12 months ago that I first heard about the PARiS scheme through word of mouth. I asked my GP about it and was told I was not bad enough to be referred. I may add that I used to walk my dogs for over two hours twice a day before my COPD put a stop to it.

Then one day I spotted a card on the practice notice board, so I asked my GP to refer me. He didn’t know everything about the scheme but he checked it out and agreed it would be good for me. My life changed from here. I met Rocky for my first assessment, he suggested I join the COPD group first and see how I’d progress.

My thoughts were positive because if someone is prepared to help me I really must make an effort. Eight months on, I am now attending the gym to work out as well. All this has changed my mindset (which was bad). In fact, I recently told my therapist I no longer needed to see her! Now, on good days I am able to walk my dogs on long walks which for me is a big change and I also think more about what I eat.

I have also picked up other hobbies thanks to not feeling low or exhausted all the time. Rocky’s big smile and positive approach make everyone around him smile too and gives us, the participants the confidence to improve a little more on each visit. He is quick to offer advice and tips on what to do and exercises that match your disability, long may he continue to do so.

I find it hard to understand why this awesome scheme is not more well known. If nothing more, it is the friendly environment where like-minded people with disabilities (sometimes beyond their control) are able to train/exercise together without competition, where we all help and encourage each other to achieve more. I have my goals for the future, which are far beyond what I could even imagine 12 months ago.

Thanks for the chance to better myself through the scheme I won’t stop and I hope that the scheme never stops! I am so glad I met Rocky."


Paul, PARiS scheme participant at lifeLEISURE Brinnington Park. October '18

Paul Austin

Dawn Nuttall


“I’d like to thank coach Dave McGlinchey for his help and support whilst I was on The PARiS Programme.

I had gained a couple of stones and got really unfit after I split from my husband and was adjusting to bringing up my two children on my own.

Anyway, the day my divorce was finalised I thought – enough is enough – and decided to do something about it.  As I had been suffering from ill health my doctor told me about the scheme and put me forward for it.

I was really motivated by Dave, and within six months I had lost all the excess weight and got really fit with a combination of changing my diet, joining the gym (which I go to with my 14 year old son) and attending Body Combat classes twice per week.

I love the Body Combat classes as I have always loved martial arts.  I am a second Dan black belt and used to compete all over the country and in Europe. Unfortunately, I had stopped training and never imagined that I would go back to the sport I love.

However, last year I took my two children to the local Tae Kwon Do class and decided to give it a go myself.  I was happy to find that some of the people I used to train with were still there and I thought it was great that I could once again train with them and with my children.

My elder son started to enter competitions and is doing very well – winning fights and bringing home medals. Despite enjoying my training, I missed the buzz of competition sparring and when my instructor mentioned the veteran category for over 40s I began to wonder if I were brave enough to give it a go. My son said if he could compete at aged only 14, then I should have a try.

Well – last week – because I was taking my son to the North Wales competition, I entered myself for the ladies’ sparring. I wasn’t sure if I would get up when they called my name or not. But, with much trepidation, I did. I enjoyed every second and couldn’t believe it when I was through to the final. I lost my final fight and came home with a silver medal at the grand old age of 48.  

What’s more, my new partner is one of the people I used to train with years ago. He also used to compete ‘back in the day’ and he too thought his competition days were over. However, because I was giving the competition a go, so did he – and he came home with a silver medal too.

Getting fit again has changed my life. I am back training in a sport I love; alongside my children and the new man in my life.”


Dawn Nuttall, PARiS participant. March ’18

John Lee

“Before I joined the PARiS scheme in November 2016, I was pre-diabetic, overweight and suffered with bad asthma. Following on from lots of hard work and with coaching from Rocky, I have now lost 1st 6lbs. All I’ve done is attended the gym and changed my diet. Even though it has been hard work, the support from Rocky has helped to keep me motivated and all that hard work is paying off. I would recommend the PARiS scheme 100%.

I think the biggest thing I changed was my mentality, especially towards food. With help from Rocky it really hasn’t been that hard to get my mind into a winning mentality towards losing weight.

Since starting the gym my asthma has been under control and I have not used my Ventolin inhaler for 8 months (which is a bonus). My joints have got stronger as they have less pressure on them from all the extra weight, so much so that I have started to do a light jog which I have not really been able to do and have just recently started running; I’m more mobile and feel like I could do a marathon!

I have also started Man v Fat football which had helped me so much and kept me on track with my healthy eating and has made me go to the gym more. It is more about losing weight than winning on the pitch and the weight you lose converts into goals for your team.

What I can say is that I’m living proof that the PARiS scheme works; all you need is a POSITIVE attitude and to stay focused. Things don’t happen overnight, the weight took time to go on, so will take time to come off.

I will talk to anyone about my weight loss journey as I am still on the journey. I still have a lot more weight to lose but I will do it.”


John Lee, PARiS participant. October ’17


Maria Pinnington


“Hi, my name is Maria and I’m a regular member at Life Leisure Stockport Sports Village and Romiley. I come to the gym 3 times a week and try to burn 700 calories in each session by using the treadmill, cross trainer and the recumbent bike.

I also attend the PARiS scheme at Life Leisure Romiley with Dave which has been fantastic for me whilst I wait for a hip replacement.
I enjoy visiting Stockport Sports Village as the staff are very friendly and approachable and I also swim the Hazel Grove pool.”


Maria Pinnington, PARiS participant and member at Life Leisure Stockport Sports Village. April ’17

Chris Harrison

“Following a period of feeling unwell, after retiring from work, I decided to go to the doctor. After a series of tests I was diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes. I was advised about things I could do to help reduce the symptoms including physical activity.

So I initially decided to start walking, starting off with a loop of the block and then upping the distance as the days/ weeks went by. I started to feel better for it, although I wasn’t really enjoying it as much, particularly when getting rained on!

I had a routine appointment at the doctors and told my GP about what I had been doing in terms of walking, but that I was losing some motivation and then he told me about the PARiS scheme in Stockport. I decided to give it a go and was referred into the scheme.

When I first arrived at Life Leisure Hazel Grove I felt really supported and welcomed by Ian, the PARiS specialist and all the other staff at the centre. As I became more aware of how much difference my lifestyle could make to my Type 2 Diabetes I took the decision to reduce my alcohol intake and stopped smoking.

My confidence has grown in the gym through regular contact with my PARiS coach, now Claire, both Claire and Ian have been really encouraging and helped to challenge me to progress with my exercise. I am really enjoying the connection with new people, both staff and members. I feel part of a community. I can also feel the benefit of all the exercise both in terms of my fitness and weight loss too. It is becoming a real passion of mine and I am now attending the gym twice a day during the week, mixing up my weights with cardio and swimming. Forming new friendships and feeling at home in the centre.

I have recently joined the Diabetes Expert programme to help me improve my understanding of the condition and get other advice regarding nutrition, etc. I look forward to maintaining my healthier lifestyle with my ultimate aim to reduce the medication I require.”

Chris Harrison, member at lifeLEISURE Hazel Grove. December 2016


Carl Roe


'Health and physical stature was all good and going pretty well to being aged 35. I played a lot of football and had kept myself in reasonable shape. I always carried a few pounds more than required but felt quite comfortable with it. As the bones started to creak and the recovery process became longer than it had in my 20s I decided to hang up my size 11s. I consider myself an average working guy and life has been pretty good. I hadn’t realised that my lack of exercise and love of a chip butty and a few lagers had started to take its toll on my waistline. This alongside having arthritis in both knees was a good excuse to put the 'STOP' sign up on ‘Exercise Avenue’. Kidding one’s self that it’s an age thing and the next size up in clothing is the way forwards is not really the approach I should have adopted. Alas, for nearly 2 decades, it is exactly what I have done.

Whilst being wrapped up in my normal life I suspect I have ignored what had been happening to my own wellbeing. A run of the mill visit to the local medical centre at the turn of this year has been a light bulb moment. After a few tests and checks, I failed my MOT quite miserably and was told in no uncertain terms that if I didn’t wake up and change my lifestyle, I may not see another candle added to my birthday cake. So what many would consider the obvious has to become a part of a new regime. Be aware of my diet, my alcohol intake and do some exercise. Hahahaha, exercise, that’s for younger people.

I was offered a referral to the PARiS scheme and decided to have a look at my local Life Leisure gym in Cheadle. I made an appointment and was inducted by a young gentleman named Anthony who was an absolute star. We discussed what I wanted from the scheme and what my short and long term goals were. We discussed my capabilities and he gave me a programme to start with and to see how things went.

I am now visiting 3 to 4 times a week and am doing a little routine that I am comfortable with and appears to be working. I have seen the first pounds disappear and my blood pressure greatly reduce. I am aware it is a long term project but I’m prepared for the long haul and now feel confident of seeing another birthday. I cannot commend the staff at Cheadle enough, all are friendly, approachable and knowledgeable. The facilities are excellent and the other members are respectful and are obviously there for their own goals. I would like to think that my goals are now visible rather than not being there at all. Short term and long term is basically to stay alive a lot longer than was previously on the agenda. I would recommend giving it a go to anybody'.


Carl Roe, PARiS participant and member at Life Leisure Cheadle. June '16

Mike Cannon

'I started using the Life Leisure gym in Marple in 2009. The practice nurse at my GP surgery introduced me to the idea as I have diabetes. She recommended the PARiS scheme so I visited the gym and found I was not alone and there were many other elderly folk just like me participating in the scheme. I started on a suitable exercise programme for beginners. The PARiS staff were really helpful with advice and tips and over time I was able to increase my muscle tone and even get stronger.

The best thing about taking part was that it created a feeling of well-being for me. I found friends would comment, saying I looked younger than my age! Now in 2016 I still keep up my fitness routine. I would like to thank the PARiS team and Life Leisure staff for helping me on my journey.'


Mike Cannon, PARiS participant and member at Life Leisure Marple. February ’16


Garry Taylor


“Hello, my name is Garry and I am a 56 years old. On 31st March 2014 I had a minor heart attack. I didn’t realise what had happened until I was admitted to Stepping Hill Hospital where I was seen to very quickly. Later that week I underwent a procedure to have a stent fitted at Manchester Royal Infirmary, and the following day I was discharged. I was advised to join the Stepping Hill Hospital gym where two fabulous nurses told me and my wife that they would give me back the confidence to live my life to the full. They did just that. After 8 weeks I was referred to Life Leisure to start on their GP Referral (PARiS) scheme. I was introduced to Ian who devised a fitness regime specifically for me. 18 months later, I am running 6-8 km, three times a week along with other exercises.

It has changed my life and that of my wife as she also joined Life Leisure and attends three times a week with me. We love going, and have both lost weight and we also love the sociable side to the gym and the friendliness and helpfulness of the staff. Thank you so much to everyone involved in my recovery.”


Garry Taylor, Member at Life Leisure Hazel Grove. October ‘15