A WOMAN who has lost five stone in 18 months after being scared by a relative’s illness is to use her story to help others in Fordingbridge .

Yo-yo dieter Maxine Tomczynska, 50, says she had never had the incentive to lose weight and stay slim before her brother went into intensive care after a routine operation.

She said: “I’ve got the constitution of an ox and never had the incentive to lose weight as I was never ill.

“But seeing him like that through no fault of his own made me feel awful about my weight – if I had fallen ill it would have been my fault.”

Ever since that scare she has been steadily dropping the pounds, going from a size 22-24 to 12-14 and getting fitter and fitter, thanks to Nordic walking, Aquafit and a series of challenges.

She said: “Last year I went to the Lake District to scatter my uncle’s ashes on Causey Pike (2090ft, 637m).

“Because I’d lost three stone by then I made it to the top, but was last and still felt unfit.”

In April this year, Mrs Tomczynska scaled a 2,000ft cliff face, the Via Ferrata at Honister Slate Mines in the Lake District ,to raise money for the John Thornton Foundation.

And and this time she didn’t struggle, reaching the end with the rest of the group.

The former teacher, who is now just a shade over 12 stone, walked, climbed and scrambled in her determination to complete the climb.

It involved walking along a narrow path along the side of the fell, crossing a metal bridge with a 600ft drop underneath, making her way along passages through the fell and scrambling and climbing up the side of some difficult routes.

She said: “I had another routine health check recently and the nurse was most impressed with the improvements to my blood pressure, cholesterol levels and risk of heart disease.

“I want to help others to feel the same way, so am becoming a Slimming World consultant myself, and I am re-launching a group in Fordingbridge.”

The group meetings will be held weekly at 7.30pm at the Victoria Rooms in Bridge Street from Thursday, September 6.