THE sister of TV star Helen Flanagan has revealed that her family owes their trim figures to a weight loss class in Bolton.

Jessica, aged 21, has lost three stone since last August thanks to healthy eating and exercise.

Mum Julia, aged 55, has also lost three stone at the WeightWatchers class, which is run by Elaine Simkin at Quakers Religious Society Of Friends in Silverwell Street.

Petite Miss Flanagan, a theology and religious studies student at Leeds University, began watching her weight last year after piling on three stone from eating unhealthy food such as ready meals and takeaways.

Inspired by her actress sister’s slim figure, and the fact her mum has kept her weight off since losing it five years ago, Miss Flanagan started on her quest for a healthier lifestyle, and now the trio motivate each other and swap diet and exercise tips.

Miss Flanagan said: “Helen is a best friend. I’m so proud of her. She’s my role model and we help each other with healthy eating and both give each other tips and motivate one another as well as exercise together.

“I work at Camp America as a counsellor in between studies, so I was in California for three months last year and I admit I did enjoy every minute while I was there.


“When I returned mum said I didn’t look happy, so asked if I wanted to go to her WeightWatchers class. The realisation hit me that my weight was the reason why I was unhappy.

“It was daunting to go at first, but Elaine is such a good motivator. If you’ve had a bad week she doesn’t shout at you, she encourages you and helps you get back on track.”

Mrs Flanagan lost three stone five years ago and has kept off the weight off.

She said: “You want the best for your children so it can be a very tricky thing to try and get them to think about healthy eating.

"So when Jessica came back from America I started to suggest healthy eating to her and she decided to join me at a class. It’s like an extended family there — and Elaine is so supportive.

“We’ve all gone as a family at some point — even Helen follows it online and always rings me up asking for tips.

"She loves me making the recipes, so when I go to see her she always says I am the best cook ever, which is really nice. It’s ideal for her to follow too because she’s always on the go.”

Elaine added: “I think the family is amazing. They have done it all together — even Helen who can’t attend gets the information from Jessica. They are a great example of how to live and eat healthily.”

The class meets every Thursday at noon at Quakers Religious Society of Friends in Silverwell Street. Call 01942 810762 for information.