Fitness Guru is Teesside Hero

July 20th, 2015
Natalie Toogood (left) receives her Teesside Heroes Award from Sue Theobald of Barclays Middlesbrough, new patrons of Teesside Philanthropic Foundation.

Natalie Toogood (left) receives her Teesside Heroes Award from Sue Theobald of Barclays Middlesbrough, new patrons of Teesside Philanthropic Foundation.

A Guisborough fitness instructor has been honoured for her efforts to encourage healthy lifestyles and to raise money for good causes around Teesside.

Natalie Toogood was handed a Teesside Hero award by the Middlesbrough and Teesside Philanthropic Foundation in recognition of her work to help hundreds of people in the Guisborough area to get fit.

And the mum-of-two, who is the owner of Natalie’s Fitness, has also been singled out for praise due to the charity work that she has been spearheading alongside her business.

Natalie received her award from Sue Theobald of new Foundation patrons Barclays Middlesbrough in a surprise presentation during a charity fundraising event she had helped organise at Guisborough Cricket Club.

“I was really taken aback,” said Natalie, who lives in Guisborough. “I just couldn’t believe it and even my husband and my girls were really shocked.

“They said it was for charity work and my fitness classes which I don’t see as work because I enjoy them so much. I always want to go because we have such a good time. They’re both a real labour of love.”

The Foundation was inundated with nominations for Natalie for her community-minded work around Guisborough.

The award also means Natalie has been handed £1,000 by the Foundation to donate to a local charity of her choice, meaning the Remembering Rebecca charity and Galley Hill Primary School are both £500 better off.

“I felt very humbled to win what I feel is a very prestigious award because I’m privileged to share so much fun with the ladies who attend my fitness classes and the children at local schools,” added Natalie, who receives a trophy and a meal voucher for two at Mohoju’s restaurant in Billingham.

“I’ve been running the classes for 12 years now and I enjoy them more than ever. I like to get people moving and I really feel that there’s a strong powerful feel-good factor that comes from exercise. It’s really rewarding, especially for me.”

The former ballet teacher also works with schoolchildren to help raise their fitness levels and she still finds time to raise money for a string of local charities and good causes.

“All the fundraising goes to charities linked to my ladies,” Natalie said. “So I do quite a lot for Zoe’s Place, the Holistic Centre at James Cook Hospital and the new Shower Me project for care packages for the vulnerable and homeless.

“Without the people in the fitness classes I wouldn’t be able to make the charity work a success. I organise the events and I find that side of things quite easy but everyone is so supportive and that’s why they work. It’s all down to teamwork.”

Natalie was put forward for the gong by former Teesside Hero award winner Jane Harvey who waxed lyrical about the fitness guru.

“Natalie is a really valuable member of the community in Guisborough,” Jane said.  “She has inspired hundreds of ladies over the years to take care of their health and become regular exercisers.

“She’s a friendly face that supports ladies of all shapes, ages, and sizes. “She also works with children at her own classes and in local schools.

“She is always positive and encouraging and is an amazing role model in promoting healthy lifestyles to children, especially the teens.”

The Philanthropic Foundation has raised £950,000 over the past four years for good causes across Teesside, thanks to generous patrons and fundraisers.

If you think you know a deserving Teesside Heroes Award-winner, send your nomination and up to 500 words about them to info@teessidecharity.org.uk

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