After breaking up with her boyfriend of five years at the age of 21, Helen Eracli thought she would make a fresh start by signing up to the gym and getting in shape.
More than 20 years on, she is on the verge of celebrating two decades as a fitness instructor in Friern Barnet, and has been recognised with two national awards from popular online forum Netmums.
The married mother-of-three, from Enfield, has raised more than £10,000 for various charities with fitness fundraisers over the years, but it was the popularity of her classes that gained her recent recognition.
Her ‘bums, tums and thighs’ class, and her Zumba sessions were both voted the forum’s favourite classes in a national online vote.
She said: “I couldn’t believe it – I was really chuffed that people went out of their way to vote for me.”
The beauty therapy graduate admitted it has not always been an easy career at times, juggling working in the evenings with bringing up three children, but says she has no plans to give up.
She said: “It has been really hard at times and there have been lots of occasions when I’ve wanted to give up. But I have had a core of people who have stuck with me and we’re a really close knit group.
“I’ve had people meet and later get married at my classes and some really close friendships have been made.
“It’s something I love doing and I just want to thank everyone who has helped me through – here’s to the next 20 years.”