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March 2024 | Belfast’s Pamela reaches final
By Mary Ferguson 
A DEAF personal trainer from Belfast is celebrating reaching the final of a national awards scheme to recognise those who have beaten the odds and changed their lives through exercise. 
The Fitness First New You Achievement Awards were held at a ceremony in London, where Pamela Campbell was up for a staff award. 
Profoundly deaf and suffering with Ushers syndrome, Pamela, 20, became a member of Fitness First in Connswater after bullying made her turn to junk food and alcohol to escape her daily life. 
With help from fitness instructor Keith Shaw – who could already sign – Pamela gained confidence. 
She said: “I changed from the shy, unconfident person to the new me. Joining the club is the best thing that could have happened to me and I couldn’t have done it without Keith. 
“He believed in me and supported me the full way – he has been an inspiration and I’m so grateful for that.” 
Pamela’s personal trainer, Mary Rose, learned to sign specifically to support her and taught her all about her job on the gym floor, inspiring Pamela to pass her gym instructors course. 
She added: “I want to have a successful personal training business.  Mary Rose has inspired me to teach classes to deaf people and I want to travel the world and be an inspiration to others.” 
Now in their third year, the awards celebrated 16 finalists, split into five categories – Shape, Health, Fitness, Sport and Staff. 
Judges included GMTV’s Dr. Hilary Jones, Angie Dowds from Living TV’s Biggest Loser and John Gamble, managing director of Fitness First. 
He said: “I am immensely humbled to have been involved with this year’s tremendous event. Whilst the concept is just three years young, the incredible growth in awareness and member response to the New You Achievement Awards is hugely encouraging.  
“With entry open to each of our 440,000 members in the UK, we look forward to welcoming the next NYAA and demonstrating once again that through adversity there is hope.”
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