Cambs Times news editor John Elworthy has been chosen to front a healthy lifestyle campaign launched by the local council.
John was thrown into the limelight after council officials spotted his Internet blog, which detailed his efforts to lose weight, quit smoking and get fitter.
Now a joint venture between Archant Herts & Cambs and Fenland District Council has been launched to promote the region’s leisure centres, organise a health fair, and end with the biggest fun run the Fens has seen.
The six-month Fit of the Fens campaign will be co-promoted by the Cambs Times, the Wisbech Standard, and the council, and will include reader offers and competitions, as well as a quit smoking initiative from the primary care trust.
And John’s updates on keeping fit will move from the blog to a new position on both the council web pages and the paper’s websites as he fights the flab.
John, who also regularly appears on Radio Cambridgeshire, began his battle to get in shape after finding out about the dangers his lifestyle exposed him to.
He said: “It all started when I got hold of a report from the primary care trust listing some pretty horrendous facts of life in the Fens.
“It detailed how life expectancy in the Fens was the worst of anywhere in East Anglia, how we were startlingly obese compared to many, and how little fruit and veg our kids in the Fens were eating.
“When I did my weekly bit on Radio Cambridgeshire and was chatting about issues that would be in the paper, I mentioned this report.
“Afterwards it seemed as if my whole life had flashed past me in those few minutes!”
Within days, John (pictured) had begun a rigid diet, joined a gym and promised to make a serious attempt to give up smoking.
In the first two weeks alone he lost half a stone and now hopes to shed two by Christmas.
He said: “Obviously the council thought I was the right sort of person to talk about health – overweight, unfit and a 25-a-day smoker.”
Readers are being encouraged to join the campaign by writing in about their own initiatives and offering help in getting more people actively involved in all aspects of a healthier lifestyle.