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From Brookie to Bootcamp – Actress Paula Wins Best Fitness Instructor Award


This’Unsurprisingly fitness instructor Paula Lamb puts her class to the test to the sound of music from musicals like Hairspray, or hosts Burlesque and Broadway training camps from her base in Waterloo, because when she’s not challenging not students during her tough workouts, she can be found treading the boards on stage.

As Paula Frances, she was Diana Corkhill in Brookside, and she continues to work as an actress – she appears at the Brindley Theater in Runcorn in Desperate Scousewives 2 this month.

But now she also tops the list in the fitness world and has just been named the 2021 North West Community Fitness Instructor.

“And I’m more than happy,” she said. “I am grateful and so honored. I never thought that a small solo band would even be vying for such an honor.

“But it’s a community award and my classes aren’t just about the physical, but also the mental and spiritual side. It’s about providing a space where people feel like they belong, where they are accepted and supported – we are like family.

Paula, 52, is well known for her role in Brookside in which he played PC’s troubled and abused wife ‘Rod the Plod’ Corkhill between 1990-1993.

But less well known is her role in fitness – in which she has been playing since the age of 12!

“My mom and dad opened a gym, the City Health Studio in County Road, Walton, in 1982, and my dad took me there,” she says. “There was a lady who took a fitness class and one night she didn’t show up and I asked my dad if I could take him. (It was only a 10 minute lesson).

“He agreed – and the members said ‘we love the new girl’!

Paula with her husband Brian and their son, Callum

“My dad gave me a job a few nights a week, and when I was 14, I took an aerobics teacher class.

“Even during my Brookie years, 1990-1993, I continued to teach fitness and still have.”

It was after having children – Alexandra is 23 and Callum is 21 – that fitness took on a bigger role in Paula’s life.

“I decided to take a year off when Alexandra was born and then for Callum,” she explains, “and it ended up being seven. I started working again and toured. National of The Naked Truth with Lisa Riley, which I loved, but found it unbearable to be away from the kids.

“Even though I came home on the weekends, I hated being away, so I asked to leave the show.”

Paula continues: “When I was 35 I decided to renew all my qualifications, so I went to Liverpool Community College to do dance, aerobics, Pilates and other things and then I went to college to study health, nutrition and fitness. a first-class diploma! – and I started the bootcamp in Waterloo 12 years ago.

She runs her business, Corefit, from Old Christ Church in Waterloo, and Paula has amassed a capacity of 300 clients.

She offers a range of classes including Boxing to the Beat (which she created) and private training sessions.

During Covid, she started training online two days before the official lockdown, after being briefed on the direction of things (“I have a lot of teachers and nurses training with me”) : “My husband, Brian, helped me with all the technical stuff but I took him like a duck in the water – like all my limbs. I have my own YouTube channel, and now I teach classes online and in person, and it gives options to everyone.

“Old Christ Church is so large that I can accommodate 40 people even 2.5 meters away which is great and I am happy to say that no one has transmitted covid in any of my classes. I am proud of that and of the fact that we were able to resume the exercise safely.

The award sparked greater pride!

“When they said my name I was stunned, there are amazing instructors, but I really feel privileged… and flattered.

“It’s a community award, and we have been – and are – a community, we are there for each other. It’s hard to ask for help, we all know that, but here we can. We’ve had women raising kids on their own, their marriages have broken down, and they meet someone here who’s in similar circumstances, and they end up supporting each other and going on vacation together, or they go for a drink together. – and that’s what community is.

“It’s more than exercise – it’s a safe place where people can feel they belong and are not judged.”

Paula adds: “I still love to play – and do – and I love fitness. But being in class is like being on stage – not everyone can stand in front of 50 people and class, exercise – and have fun.

“I take a hit with my stage performance – and my members laugh and say, ‘she thinks she’s not playing’, but it’s great and they make me happy.

“We’re all having a good time – and that’s what it is. We had t-shirts made that said “we’re stronger together” because we are. And the price supports it all.

* Paula is appearing at the Brindley Theater in Runcorn in Desperate Scousewives 2 on November 24-25 and you can book tickets here.

You can follow Paula on Facebook here.


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