A SLIMMER is set to complete her weight loss journey by tackling the London Marathon next month.

Ellen Pope, from Mellor Brook, has lost three and a half stone since joining Slimming World in Blackburn in 2013.

Two years later she started running for the first time when she joined the Blackburn with Darwen Couch to 5k group.

Now she is set to run the London Marathon to raise money for Mencap, a leaning disability charity.

Ms Pope said that it has been a long-time ambition of hers to run the race.

The 57-year-old said: “For about 20 years now I’ve been wanting to have a go at it. I’ve been watching it on TV and just thought I’d love to take part.

“It’s taken me 17 years to get myself ready to do it and now I’m really looking forward to it.

“I’ve completely changed my diet over the year, but it’s not just that, it’s a change of lifestyle.”

Before joining Slimming World she regularly enjoyed foods such as cakes, biscuits ready meals and her favourite indulgence was pizza.

Now shehas ditched take outs in favour of preparing all her food fresh, while eating sweet items as an occasional treat.

Ellen,a training manager at Adam’s Activity Ark, based at Mrs Dowsons Farm, Clayton-le-Dale, works with adults with leaning disabilities.

She said it was her job that inspired her to raise money for Mencap. She has set herself a £2,000 target.

The former paramedic said: “Mencap is a charity that is very close to my heart and I am pleased and proud to be running in the London Marathon in a bid to raise much needed funds for this worthy cause.

“I am really looking forward to the challenge and I hope I can reach my target.”

In October last year Ms Pope took part in the 26.2km Metric Marathon race in Chester as she trained for the London Marathon.

Rick Wilson, founder of Couch to 5k, said is delighted to see how far she has come.

He said: “It goes without saying, everyone at Couch to 5K is super proud of Ellen and we will be cheering her on all the way.”

To donate visit www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Ellen-Pope.