WITH a starring role in popular soap Emmerdale and a young daughter to care for, Sammy Winward knows the importance of keeping fit and healthy.

Over the past 12 years, the former Turton High School pupil has been involved in a number of dramatic storylines, often with intense filming schedules for the ITV show which airs five nights a week. 

The mother-of-one took time out of her busy schedule to pop into V1ntage Health and Wellness Studio, Knowsley Street, Bolton, to hear about a project which aims to get the town’s people feeling better than ever.

Health and fitness enthusiasts Gareth Price, from Walkden, and Ian Harrison, from Horwich, offer group exercise classes and nutritional coaching, with daily contact, designed to help people change their lifestyle for a happier and healthier future.

Sammy, aged 28, who plays Katie Addyman in the soap, said: “Something like this is fantastic, especially with a long-term view.

“I’ve had personal training before and it becomes very irregular.

“I would have one session then I would have two or three weeks break, especially with working.

“I’m terrible with having treats and not exercising for a while.”

Having eight-year-old daughter Mia, who was born at Sammy's family home in Edgworth, she is careful to instill a positive attitude to nutrition, exercise and body image.

She said: “It’s a very tricky one.

“I grew up in a house where we never had chocolate, sweets, Coke. I don’t have a treat cupboard.

“If it’s not there, I won’t eat it.

“It’s a very difficult one to do with a child. You never want to make them feel they are not perfect, they all are.

“As long as you give them the idea that healthy food is better for them.

“That’s the best thing to do. And get them out of the house, you don’t have to call it exercise.

“I’m not with a gym, I’ve just been doing stuff at home.

“I like healthy food. I love food and I do treat myself but I’m lucky because I do like a lot of healthy food.”

Ian has devised a programme which is not a diet but sees daily contact between coach and client, setting targets for each day, analysing food diaries and breaking through obstacles and barriers to rewire people’s nutritional brain.

Sammy said: “I am better when I’ve had someone helping me and telling me.

“You don’t want to turn up and them to say, why is there three takeaways on your list of food?

“You do have someone to answer to which is what some people do need.”

Having joined the Emmerdale cast at just 15, Sammy grew up in the spotlight but says she does not feel pressure to appear a certain way.

She said: “I’m used to it. I don’t really care what people say to be honest. It doesn’t affect me, I can see how it would affect people — young girls, and boys too.

“I’m not bothered about it too much.”

In October 2012, Emmerdale celebrated 40 years with an impressive live episode which helped the show scoop Best Soap at the annual Inside Soap Awards, for the first time.

Sammy was heavily involved in the action with her character marrying Declan Macey and the actress reveals she is looking forward to filming more dramatic scenes later this year.

She said: “I was busy with that and then I took some time off last year.

“At the end of this year, it’s going to pick up but I haven’t been told what yet.

“It’s fantastic, it’s a great place to work.”