Penny's weight loss an inspiration

SUPER slimmer Penny Clark has proved an inspiration to family and friends after shedding the pounds and dropping four dress sizes.

Neil Puffett

SUPER slimmer Penny Clark has proved an inspiration to family and friends after shedding the pounds and dropping four dress sizes.

The 49-year-old, of Cedarcroft Road, Ipswich, who suffers from Down's syndrome, weighed in at 12 and a half stone last October.

However she rose to the challenge and has gone from a size 20 to 12 - tipping the scales at a trim eight stone five pounds.

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Her sister Sheila, with whom she shares a house, said Penny's determined bid to achieve her goal has proved inspirational for her.

“I'm absolutely proud of her,” she said. “She said too me last October that she wanted to lose some weight so I had a look into the different clubs available and took it from there.

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“She's become a lot more confident as a result of losing the weight as well as a lot more mobile.”

Sheila, 61, said Penny's ability to battle adversity comes from the way she was brought up as a child.

“When she was born my father said she was going to be treated no different to anyone else,” she said. “She has always been allowed to mix with people - from the day she was born she has not been held back. She has been allowed to live her life.”

Barbara Thorn, from Ipswich Mencap, said Penny's achievement was a real inspiration.

“I love Penny to bits,” she said. “It isn't easy for anyone to lose weight - I'm always trying, but Penny was absolutely determined from day one and she has really done well.

“She has re-educated herself to eat less. That is particularly difficult because there is a tendency for people with Down's to put on weight - but Penny has really shown determination.”

Around one in every 1,000 babies born in the UK will have Down's syndrome.

There are 60,000 people in the UK with the condition.

Down's syndrome is caused by the presence of an extra chromosome in a baby's cells.

Down's syndrome is not a disease, but people with the syndrome will have a degree of learning difficulty.

Most people with Down's syndrome will walk and talk and many will read and write, go to ordinary schools and lead fulfilling, semi-independent lives.

The average life expectancy for a person with Down's syndrome is between 50 and 60.

SOURCE: The Down's Syndrome Association.

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