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Before and after photos: Taverham zumba instructor who shed six stone organises marathon in aid of tragic North Walsham baby

PUBLISHED: 20:09 19 June 2013 | UPDATED: 20:09 19 June 2013

Fiona Riley, who lost weight by taking up Zumba, is staging a Zumbathon to raise money for a Mickey Mouse headstone for Ryan Wright.
PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY

Fiona Riley, who lost weight by taking up Zumba, is staging a Zumbathon to raise money for a Mickey Mouse headstone for Ryan Wright. PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY

Archant Norfolk 2013

A Taverham zumba instructor who is organising a marathon in memory of a tragic is hoping others will get the fitness bug which has seen her shed six stone.

Fiona Riley, who lost weight by going to Slimming World and taking up Zumba, is staging a Zumbathon to raise money for a Mickey Mouse headstone for Ryan Wright. Pictured in August 2010 before she started at Slimming World.
PHOTO: ANTONY KELLYFiona Riley, who lost weight by going to Slimming World and taking up Zumba, is staging a Zumbathon to raise money for a Mickey Mouse headstone for Ryan Wright. Pictured in August 2010 before she started at Slimming World. PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY

In 2010 Fiona Riley, of Riverdene Mews, weighed nearly 15 stone and felt too fat to marry her fiancée Shaun.

But a combination of zumba dance fitness exercises and joining Slimming World has seen her melt down to a trim 8st 12lbs.

Mum-of-two Mrs Riley, 47, is holding a three-hour zumba marathon session on Sunday June 30 in the Battle of Britain Hall, Badersfield (former RAF Coltishall), from 11am-2pm.

The event is in aid of a £2,500 appeal to buy a Mickey Mouse headstone for the grave of 22-month-old Ryan Wright, from Fairview Road, North Walsham, who died from the rare childhood cancer neuroblastoma last month.

Fiona Riley, who lost weight by going to Slimming World and taking up Zumba, is staging a Zumbathon to raise money for a Mickey Mouse headstone for Ryan Wright. Pictured with husband Shaun on her wedding day in April 2011.
PHOTO: ANTONY KELLYFiona Riley, who lost weight by going to Slimming World and taking up Zumba, is staging a Zumbathon to raise money for a Mickey Mouse headstone for Ryan Wright. Pictured with husband Shaun on her wedding day in April 2011. PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY

Nowadays Mrs Riley teaches zumba in Thorpe Marriott, Stratton Strawless, Badersfield and Buxton,

“I used to hate PE at school,” she said. “When it came to team games they always said ‘don’t pick her, she’s rubbish’. Never in my wildest dreams did I think that I’d be standing in front of 40 ladies teaching a zumba class.”

Fed up with the way she looked and felt, Mrs Riley went to a Slimming World class in November 2010, lost 5lbs in the first week and has never looked back. She then took up zumba - and loved it.

“It was hard work at first because I was big but it’s something anybody can do. It’s fun - you are doing nice, easy steps to music, and clapping a lot. If you go wrong it doesn’t matter - it’s a giggle. You can burn off 500-600 calories in an hour’s session. I get a huge lift from it and it fills you with energy,” she said.

“Shaun had picked a wedding date twice but I cancelled it each time because I was unhappy with my weight.”

But, as the stones slipped away, Mrs Riley one day asked him: “Do you still want to get married”. They tied the knot in April 2011 - and she wore a size 10 wedding dress.

■ The June 30 event will also include a large teddy tombola, mixed tombola, raffle and refreshments. Visitors are welcome to drop in and take part for any length of time, for a donation. The full session costs £6. For more information ring 01603 866444.

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