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Champ Cheer
and Testimonials


Champ Cheer

Liz and Aurore, Lactalis McLelland Limited

Congratulations to Angela Barnett, Julie Eyles & Helen Gartland

On Saturday October 14th 2017, Angela, Julie and Helen (and their husbands) completed the Memory Walk for Alzheimer's Society at the Olympic Park in London.

As our company’s chosen Charity it is important to everyone, especially as we all know someone who is affected by dementia.

The team did an amazing job in organising and completing the walk as well as raising over £700 for this amazing charity.

Well done to you guys.

Tess Tucker - Paul Smith Ltd

My nominated ‘Champ’ for October is Emma McPetrie who works in our Nottingham office. She is going to do a ‘Firewalk’ for Maggie’s Centres.

She says …

“So, I can't bake, I can't run a marathon.... yet! and I am certainly not up to jumping out of a plane.... so here I am walking on fire, the reason is to raise money for Maggie’s, Nottingham and here is why....

From my diagnosis of breast cancer in February this year, during my treatment and now after my all clear, Maggie’s has been and will always be such a fundamental part in my journey.Maggie’s provides such heartfelt support, for all cancer sufferers & families affected by cancer. The kitchen table is always full of goodies, the coffee is always readily available and fundamentally there is always a smile and if necessary a hug to greet you at the door.

Someone once said to me, the steps down to the kitchen table at Maggie’s are, initially, the hardest steps you will take, but the most worthwhile steps you will ever take in your journey. They were possibly the most important steps I have taken over the past few months coping with cancer. I learnt to relax during the relaxation classes, I was taught Tai Chi, and the most enjoyable part of the past few months... I learnt to draw and paint again, something I never had time for, never allowed myself to have the time to just sit and paint, now after weekly sessions with Joolz at the expressive art class, I have found time and love every minute of it.

At Maggie’s, I have met amazing, brave, funny, loving people who I can now call my friends. Thank you Maggie’s for making my journey just that little bit easier.”

I know it isn’t achieving something fantastic physically, but Emma will be testing her mental ability to do this challenge. We all wish her luck, and you never know, she could be running a marathon one day in the future.

Kate McDermott, Trowers and Hamlins

Our Champs Cheer this month goes to Lydia Jason-Ryan and Tracey Fisher in our Exeter office. Both of whom have recently to increase their Vitality status from Bronze to Silver.

Tracey recently had a major operation and increasing her mobility has played a huge part in her recovery. Whilst Tracey recognises she still has a way to go, she is enjoying the benefits of her Silver status and is hoping to make changes that will benefit her and her family.

Lydia signed up for Vitality but didn't really know what to do with it. Lydia walks all the time but her steps were not recorded properly as she doesn't always carry her phone. After a whistle-stop tour from Kate, Lydia bought herself an activity tracker and now regularly achieves 12,500 steps and loves her Starbucks reward.

Champ Testimonial

Andrew Roast, Vitality

As part of one of my recent Champ emails out to the office, I posted a competition to win some branded salad shakers. All my colleagues had to do was to post a picture of a health lunch they’d made on our internal Facebook page. We had some great entries, all of them looking very tasty. I really think it helped motivate people to bring in a nutritious and energising lunch option, and those pics on the Facebook page would have inspired more people to give it a try…and added bonus!

I chose the winning lunches because of various reasons, one because it was colourful, unusual (including mango in their salad!) and added a strawberry desert. Another because it incorporated leftovers so showed that a healthy lunch could be money saving at the same time….and was a Thai green curry, yum yum! I also had entries using low fat alternative dressings and sauces, and ones that were simple & filling, showing how quick and easy doing a healthy lunch could be.

Overall I think it was a great idea, and I think it could certainly inspire people in any office, as well as sparking some good conversation around food…..and friendly rivalry and the photo front!

Lindsey Passaic, Vitality

In September we launched a lunchtime run club. The club meets every Friday at 12.30pm and is open to all abilities and paces—we say the more the merrier. Our aim is to get fresh air, sweat and get our hearts pumping, but most importantly to enjoy each other’s company.

Prior to starting the club, we sent out a survey to find out who would be interested, what pace they run and if they’d be willing to lead a run. In this way, we were able to recruit a few run leaders so the burden of leading the runs wouldn’t fall on one person. To remind staff about the runs, we send out an Outlook invite on the first of each month with all of the upcoming run dates. We’ve also set-up the invites with a day-before reminder so that staff are prompted to bring in their kit. Since emails are easily ignored, we also post flyers in the common spaces and do desk drops to encourage staff to join in.

To boost participation even more, we incentivised run club by providing all participants with ‘loyalty’ cards that get stamped after every run completed. For the first, third, sixth and ninth runs a staff member joins, they receive a small reward. These little rewards put a smile on peoples’ faces and encourage them to come back for another run. Something a tiny as a protein bar has proved to be a good motivator!

Being consistent about the day and time of runs, pulling participation from across the business and implementing a rewards program have really helped the success of the run club. Now there’s a buzz in our office and we have a growing group of lunchtime runners!


Champ Cheer

Tharina Cronje, CTP

My Vitality Cheer goes to my colleague, Steph Fearnley.

  1. She set herself a Summer Goal which was
  2. To run twice a week for at least 30 minutes
  3. To run once a week for 60-90 minutes.
  4. To reduce mile time to average 10 mile for up to 3 miles. Alongside this and to assist this to eat healthy to in turn assist in reduction of weight.

This is what she has achieved so far;  she runs at least twice a week for the 30 mins then longer at weekend and also the 3 miles on 30 mins. been doing some 10k runs as well and am doing the great south run 10 mile sat the end of October.

Steph’s Vitality Age is also the same as her real age which I personally think is a huge achievement.

Tess Tucker, Paul Smith Ltd

My nominated PSL ‘Champ’ this month is Ryan Walton.  Approximately 8 weeks ago Ryan was involved in a cycling accident where he fractured both elbows, he was back on his bike as soon as he could and he also took part in the Cycle to Work Day.  Well done Ryan, pure dedication to your cycling!

Liz and Aurore, Lactalis McLelland Limited

Congratulations to Melodie Greenwell for climbing Ben Nevis!

Every year or so I like to set myself a challenge whilst trying to raise money for good causes. I have an extensive list of personal goals that take me out of my comfort zone! Key achievements so far; London Marathon, parachute jump and abseiling down a 300ft glass building. Ben Nevis has been on that list for some time and I thought it wouldn’t be too difficult. People kept telling me not to underestimate it and be prepared! Unfortunately I hadn’t had time to train but my body didn’t let me down! We apparently had the best weather of the year and the views and scenery were stunning. Had it have been wet; the climb would have been far more treacherous and not enjoyable! The ascent went well and I get why you’re asked to bring lots of extra clothing, conditions can change dramatically when you get closer to the top. Unfortunately I slipped on some rocks on the way down, jarring my back and gaining a few cuts and grazes, along with the loss of a toenail! This knocked my confidence quite a bit and relieved to have reached the bottom without any further incidents! For anyone thinking about doing it, I would highly recommend. A positive tick off my list whilst raising over £700 for a brilliant charity. Next year, wing walking…

Champ Testimonial

Kate McDermott, Trowers & Hamlins LLP

The Birmingham office step-challenge went down really well and everyone is excited for the next one.  I'm looking to replicate this in our other offices and hope for the same success.  Simon won the step challenge with over 15,000 steps on the August bank holiday.  The majority of the office took part and it sparked some friendly banter across the office and has seen pockets hosting their own competitions. We are even considering a multi-office challenge.

The last few months we have been focusing on spreading the Vitality word – everyone is more interested in it as we recently had Vitality days in all the UK offices so people have renewed enthusiasm.  I've been doing drop ins in all the Regional offices I have been in to try and help people get more engaged with it.

Now the weather has started to change the office have started thinking of weird and wonderful ways to get their steps in.  The battle for first to platinum has started and everyone is keen to get there before renewal!  Shaan and I are starting lunch time clinics to help get people started, registered on the website and setting up their health assessments.  Anything to boost their points before the end of the year.


Champ Cheer

Debbie Morgan, Bausch + Lomb

Our ‘Champ of the Month’ is John Codd (far right) who will be taking part in the Royal Parks Foundation Half Marathon with three other members of our staff, raising money for Fight for Sight. John also encourages staff to run twice a week at lunchtime, where we all try to keep up with him!

Tess Tucker, Paul Smith Ltd

My ‘Champs cheer’ this month is for an employee at Paul Smith in Nottingham. She started doing the ‘couch to 5k’ with her daughter a month ago and is really enjoying it. She has never run before so is taking her time and enjoying the new experience. So, well done to Cathryn Rae, keep on trying and I’m sure you will achieve your goal.


Champ Cheer

Carly Bedwell, Gilead

Early this month we awarded our Champs Cheer to everyone who completed the J.P.Morgan Corporate Challenge. We had a great turn out from all 3 of the Gilead sites. It was a very hot evening but everyone did amazing. It was a great event to incorporate people of all abilities. We had people who are ‘natural’ runners who could race round very quickly, people who had never run before who managed to keep running the whole way and others who wanted to take it as a brisk walk. It was great to see so many people getting active on a lovely summers evening.

Tess Tucker, Paul Smith Ltd

The month of July has seen a few changes at Paul Smith. One of our ex-employees set up her own Yoga business, so now comes into the offices once, sometimes twice a week to run hour long lunchtime yoga sessions. Another one of our employees has also organised ‘early morning yoga’ for the London office rooftop. Both lots of yoga have been well received and attended.


My ‘Champ of the month’ this month is Lisa Starr from our Nottingham office. She took part in the ‘Race-for-life’ at Clumber park on the 4th of July. She did the event with her Sister-in-Law and 13 year old daughter in memory of a family member and another relative who is currently suffering from Cancer. They mainly walked the 5K course but Lisa says her daughter was eager to get running, maybe next year! Lisa raised £170 herself for the charity and her Sister-in-law made it up to £500 with some sponsorship from the company she works for.

Well done Lisa, and family, a fantastic cause and achievement.

Simon Booth, Weight Watchers

This month I have award our GM, Chris with the Champ Cheer. As an organisation we launched our #ww5kmyway which was all about getting our members more active, completing a 5K in any way shape or form they liked over 1 weekend in July.

Chris, as always, led the way and because of it took up running, something that he has never done before and in preparation for the event, used the couch to 5K app and put together a video of his time training for all employees to see. Since this Chris has truly got the running bug and is now starting to look at pushing his distance to get further.

Also in July we held our office and field management team sports day event. I took the opportunity to set up a stall and invited people over to find out how to get more out of their Vitality insurance. Employees have since booked in for their health assessments, synched activity devices and as a consequence are now receiving their rewards!

Liz and Aurore, Lactalis McLelland

Congratulations to Eleanor Holt & Antonia Skinner for quitting smoking

Why did they decide to stop smoking?

Eleanor said: “On the 26th June this year I decided to stop smoking for good. There were many reasons for my decision, some more obvious than others like my health, and to save money, but also smaller incentives (yet just as important) such as being able to walk for 10 minutes without getting out of breath and wheezing, for my hair and clothes not to stink of smoke, to stop smoking around my friends and family, to not have that awful smokers cough when I woke every morning and to prove to myself that I control my future - I chose life.

Antonia added "There is no benefit to smoking and I got to the point where I was thinking if I don’t stop soon I am going to cause some irreversible damage as I am not getting any younger! I am also very into being healthy and keeping fit so smoking was just counteracting all the hard work!”

Challenges they have experienced.

Eleanor said “Ok so I’m not going to lie, quitting smoking was tough…. I decided to go cold turkey as I just wanted to get rid of all the rubbish and noxious chemicals inside my body asap! So going from 15 cigarettes a day to 0 was so scary! So I downloaded a NHS Smoke Free app which was a godsend. I checked it everyday and looked forward to receiving my ‘new reward badge’, it sounds cheesy but it was the daily incentive I needed. Some reward badges did shock me, like on 23rd day of not smoking I received my “saved 6 days” badge which meant I added 6 days to my life… Yes over the first few days I was rather ratty, especially when driving – I did puff on my 0% nicotine vape at the beginning, especially in the car, but I puffed on it so much that I felt like I was in an 80s music video all the time! So only after 4 days I stopped vaping too. Had terrible cough over the first few days as well, it pretty much turned into a horrid cold – but it was just my body’s way of detoxing. Even though I did face the above challenges (including ones that I have not mentioned) I can proudly say I did not (and have not) had a cigarette since my decision on 26th June. Although at times I was really tempted!”

Antonia said “It was probably one of the hardest things I have ever done but I got through the cravings by just thinking ‘this feeling isn’t going to last forever’, which of cause it doesn’t and smoking rarely crosses my mind now. “

How has it benefited their health?

Eleanor added “Where do I start?! What a difference 5 weeks of not smoking has made to my health….! My sense of smell has improved, my breathing has completely changed for the better and my circulation is at its best because my

lungs are processing more oxygen around my body. I have started spin classes at the gym, am going 3 to 4 times a week – and I love it! I would never been able to do these classes when I smoked! Food tastes better because the nerve endings on my tongue have now fully repaired, my skin, teeth and hair look healthier and I have so much more energy! And to top it all off I have saved to date £223. I would recommend everyone that smokes to stop! It is super hard, but the benefits of stopping far outweigh the side effects of smoking - I couldn’t have done this without the support of my friends, family and co workers.

Antonia finished with “There are too many health benefits to mention, however I ran a marathon in April which I know would have been almost impossible if I was still a smoker! Advice to people wanting to quit – there will never be an ideal time, it’s easy to make excuses that you have an occasion coming up when you will want to smoke!

Take one day at a time and try not to think too much about it or too far ahead and just focus on not having a cigarette that day!”


Champ Cheer

Liz and Aurore, Lactalis McLelland Limited

In June, it was Walk Over Cancer campaign so we decided to challenge employees to walk 10,000 steps a day throughout the month. Even though some people said they would not be able to achieve the target they joined in to participate. Darryl was our winner with a whopping 512,081 steps throughout the month, closely followed by Nicky with 465,417 steps. Darryl was not in it for the prize but for improving his personal health so kindly passed the £25 sweatshop voucher to Nicky.

This was a good initiative and people who took place enjoyed it. We were publishing the league table every week so they could see how they positioned themselves against other employees. Hopefully employees will have been inspired by Darryl & Nicky averaging over 15,000 steps per day!

Darryl said on the challenge

“I’m not in it to win a prize, but more because it’s about changing my lifestyle. I got the Fitbit and the app in March, and it’s helped me to gradually do more and more walking. I started with very small changes. Taking long cuts instead of short cuts.. A long cut is to find a longer way to get somewhere to do more steps.  5 minutes more or maybe 15 minutes more.  It all counts. Now I’m trying to do a bit of a walk to work (from Gloucester road), a walk around Redhill at lunch time, and a detour back to Gloucester road.  On the weekend my family and I are trying to avoid using the car and do more things locally, which is not always easy but working so far.

The results:

  • Less tiredness (also linked to Fitbit as it tracks my sleep and advised to have the same 40 mins to go to sleep and wake)
  • Loss of weight
  • Less headaches

Frankly if I can do it – anyone can, as I am not a health nut, I can’t stand gyms. Walking is simple, easy and can be done literally anywhere!”

Nicky said

“I’ve really increased my step count since I bought my Fitbit and make sure I always do my daily 10k steps. Some friends and I have regular step competitions and encourage each other, we’ve also started doing a Saturday morning Park Run followed by brunch as a reward. I play hockey once a week which really helps the step count and also taking the dog for long walks in the sunshine is a great way to get some exercise.  I try to go out for a walk around town at lunchtime every day rather than just sitting at my desk.  Keeping active makes me feel happier, I have more energy, sleep better and I can reward myself with plenty of treats without feeling guilty!”

As a result, we would like to cheer both Darryl & Nicky this month for their great achievement. Please find attached the Cheer.


Simon Booth, Weight Watchers UK Ltd

My Champ Cheer for this month has gone to one of our Area Managers Mel Pym. I’ve been running drop in clinics in the field for people to come along and see how they can boost their Vitality points and also double check that they are getting as many rewards as possible- setting up their Starbucks accounts etc.

Mel came to one of the clinics and has embraced all aspects of it. Mel is all set up with her fitbit, completed her health reviews and is now happily receiving a free drink and cinema ticket on regular occasions. So has already headed straight up to Silver!

I’m running a few clinics on the office over the next few months and now have a regular spot on our Times out newsletter where I am sharing the different elements of the Vitality programme to others. This month is about Vitality GP. We’re seeing lots if interest from others who haven’t signed up before, so hoping to see an increase in our employees who take this up for 2018.

I on the other hand also signed up for a ½ marathon, really pushing myself to the limits with the training for that! Run takes place on the 3rd September in Cleethorpes.


Tess Tucker, Paul Smith

This month I am doing a ‘champs Cheer’ for Tom Woodhouse who works at Kean Street in London. He completed the Vitality London 10,000 at the end of May. He has done a couple of half marathons and wanted to challenge himself over a shorter, faster distance. He completed the race in 47:30 and enjoyed it so much he is hoping to do another one this year! He also got over excited and entered the London Marathon ballot for 2018!

Well done Tom, keep on running and pushing yourself to keep fit and healthy!

Champ Testimonial

Tharina Cronje, CTP

Since being a Champion, I have introduced myself to my colleagues and hosted 5 webinars about how to get started with Vitality and one face-to-face meeting, over 90 colleagues attended these sessions. I've made myself available for 1:1 support and have facilitated queries.

We have launched a Google + Community where I share tips and initiatives from the newsletter and we also replicate the content on our intranet for another part of the business, this is done on a weekly basis.

June is our Bring your own lunch to work lunch at my work. I've created a star chart, you get a star if you have brought your own lunch in and if it includes at least one thing of red, green or yellow on your plate. About 15 people are involved with this. The other incentive is that it is saving us all money. I have also shared healthy and quickly to make recipes with my colleagues.

On the back of the webinars one of our offices challenged themselves and are walking virtually to each of our 10 offices in the country, 1212 miles in between these offices. Every team member committed to walk 10000 steps a day, they are in week 3 of the challenge and they are over half way already!


Lindsey Passaic, Vitality

This month marked the start of running club at Vitality’s London office. To get the club up and ‘running’, I sent around a short survey to collect information about staff’s favourite time and day to run, running pace and whether anyone would be willing to lead a run. I used the survey responses to pick two days a month to organize lunchtime 5Ks. By sending out a survey I was able assign run leaders and communicate run club dates in advance so that staff could plan their time accordingly. To ensure that no one forgets about the runs, I send Outlook diary invites and post run reminders in common areas. We had a nice group at our first run and everyone’s looking forward to the next 5K around the city.

As the Champion in London and a qualified personal trainer, I also initiated a June fitness program. Instead of trying to organise the classes on my own, I worked with Vitality’s ‘Making a Difference’ committee to capitalise on existing business resource and make the classes as successful as possible. For four weeks this June, a group of staff has been meeting once a week for a 45-minute exercise class. The classes are all about having fun and getting in extra physical activity before heading home for the day. To make the classes as accessible as possible, they’re free, designed for all ability levels, and take place in our office at the end of the day. It’s hard to find an excuse not to join! The classes have been so popular we’re thinking of extending it for the rest of the summer.

As awareness of the Champion role increases, I’m hoping to spearhead initiatives around Vitality’s other health pillars such as nutrition and mental wellbeing. Heading into summer seems like a great time to highlight hydration tips and healthy recipes that keep you cool!


Champ Cheer

Liz and Aurore, Lactalis McLelland Limited

“Steve has recently decided to sign up and partake in MacMillan’s Longest Day Golf Challenge for 2017 in memory of his friends’ granddad who died of cancer. In order to achieve this challenge, Steve has trained hard over the past few weeks and has achieved an incredible weight loss. Additionally Steve decided to change his diet but did not want to use this word as he thought it was negative, and instead decided to call it a lifestyle change. Both exercise and diet change have improved his health as a result.

Well done, and good luck Steve for the Golf Challenge we know you can do this”

Champ Testimonial

Liz and Aurore, Lactalis McLelland Limited

We were not sure what to expect when we attended the training on 4th April at Vitality London Office and what we would have to do as Champs. However the training day was great. Everyone was friendly and we were all in the same boat. The coaches were great and explained the values of the company, and the speaker was very inspirational. However when we left we were still not 100% sure of what was expected of us as champions as we thought we would have been given more information on our role and how to get people involved back at the office.

Since the training day we have started our Champs journey by setting up a Vitality information page on the business intranet site, so all employees have a point of reference for all things Vitality. The page includes the Members login link, Newsletters, Food of the Month, Getting started in 10 steps, and we plan to include details of any Vitality events such as races going on to encourage people to get active!

As a starting point we also thought it would be useful to ask for feedback directly from the employees, to better understand how they are currently engaging with Vitality and what they would like to see more of to get them even more engaged and excited about Vitality. We therefore set up a short questionnaire and asked employees to give their feedback. We plan on using this feedback to help us decide on future initiatives we will introduce into the business so that everyone can get involved!

We have also asked employees to nominate someone every month for the Champs Cheer, which gets everyone involved and encourages people to make small steps towards improving their health. We have sent a separate email to you with our Champs Cheer for April.

Please find attached a few photos from our Vitality intranet page!