Member & Instructor Spotlights

Here you will find all our inspiring SCL member and instructor stories that we have shared over recent years.

Tracey has been a member of SCL since 2014. Tracey shares her truly inspiring journey with us.

‘When I first joined it was to gain some fitness and try and regain some confidence and independence back into my life. I was registered severely sight impaired in 2010 after numerous surgeries on my already poor eye sight. One particular surgery failed traumatically and I had to end my working life as a travel consultant.

I became very isolated, lost my self esteem and life felt very dark. In 2013, I was introduced to Tansy my then working guide dog, she became my eyes and I took the plunge to join the gym.

Tansey, Tracey's guide dog

I did small workouts in the gym and afterwards I’d walk past the studios where classes were in full swing and wished I had the confidence to join in. Then I met Danielle Kelly, one of the instructors! She coaxed me to join in a class she was covering at Worsley, and then encouraged me to try classes at Swinton. 10 years later I’m still joining in with many classes.

I’ve not looked back, I’ve gained fitness, confidence, friends and most of all happiness.

I’ve since lost Tansy who was made very welcome by the gym staff and looked after whilst I worked out. I’ve made very dear friends who now pick me up for my classes until I decide to re train with another dog.

SCL the staff and members pulled me out of some of my darkest days and for that I’ll be forever grateful.

Meet Sheryl, one of our SCL group exercise instructors. Sheryl shares her most recent challenge with us, her motivations and tells us a bit about herself.

‘Hi, my name is Sheryl and I currently teach classes at Broughton, Irlam & Cadishead, Swinton & Pendlebury and Worsley Leisure Centres. I teach everything from Aqua, Aqua Natal, Les Mills Body Balance, Easy Does It, Float Fit and Pilates.

I’ve been teaching for around 16 years now and I love it! Basically I love helping people and being around them, it’s why I do it, it’s my main passion, my WHY. Every now and then you get a special thank you for what you do in the form of cards, little token gestures and it just makes it all worthwhile. Current members say I am very funny and a bit of a nutter…but I take that as a compliment!

If you know me, you’ll know about my recent challenge, (I think I told the whole of Salford!)

I climbed Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania with the company Action Challenge. It was a special challenge (definitely not a holiday!) as it was my first time away with my Dad and I am now 43 years of age. My good friend Lisa also came on the challenge with us.  It was even more special for my Dad as he had major heart surgery 18 months prior.  They stopped his heart for 2 hours whilst they gave him a new aortic valve as his was faulty. Just wow! The icing on the cake is that we both summited Kilimanjaro on the 21st Sept 2023 @ 7.35am in the morning. With the rest of our team, 17 of us in total. Can you believe we had 73 porters from stomach engineers (chefs!), water carriers, food carriers, porters that carried our big bags and porters that put up and took down our tents every day and night. We couldn’t have done it without them that’s for sure.

Sheryl McHale, SCL instructorI was also told another group of 12 were climbing the same week as us but only 10 made it to the top. At a mere 5895m/ 19,341ft – 4 miles high give or take), altitude sickness can get anyone at any time. We are so grateful that we made it to the top.

We also decided to raise money for a local charity in East Africa called KYGN (Kilimanjaro Young Girls in Need), who provide education for more than 150 girls (and some boys) in Mabogini. KYGN also acts as a social service in the area, to support at risk families. In 2016, KYGN opened a safe house where, at any one time, 20-30 children can be offered a secure and safe home while a long term solution is found.

Between the 3 of us we raised £2100. I was in contact with Anna Maria (founder) and she tells me our money is going towards building a new classroom at the school. From the bottom of my heart thank you to everyone that supported us and donated.

A quote I love – Do what you can, with all you have, wherever you are – Theadore Roosevelt.

I love this because we are all different . We all have things going on in our life positive and negative that may change us for better or worse. All we can do in any circumstance is our best with what we have physically or mentally, wherever we are.

If you’re new to SCL or just fancy trying a new class, I’m here to help you. I will try my very best to cater for ALL abilities and make you feel at ease. Especially if you are a newbie. We were all newbies at one time, and it can be daunting that I understand’.

Janet WalkerMeet Janet, a longstanding member of SCL who joined us 7 years ago. Janet shares her motivations and inspiring story with us.

‘At the time I joined SCL, I was caring for my Dad most days with little time for anything else and I was told I needed some time for myself, to focus on something that was for me.

So I signed up to SCL, mainly because my sister was already a member so I tagged along not really thinking it would last long. As it turned out, joining was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. I stuck to it consistently, week in week out. With losing both my Mum & Dad during this time and still staying consistent, keeping a routine has definitely helped me through some of my darkest days.

If it wasn’t for Swinton & Pendlebury Leisure Centre instructors and members, I honestly don’t know where I’d be mentally. They certainly don’t realise how much they’ve helped me without even knowing it.

I’ve done most of the classes, all the instructors are great, they always push you a little further which bring a sense of satisfaction and achievement afterwards which makes you feel good.

Here’s to the future hopefully getting stronger and making some new PBs and making good friends along the way!

Danielle Kelly, Active Communities Support Manager says:

‘Sometimes we forget about our regular super fit members , as we often focus on the members who are new and on a weight loss journey and whilst they are all super and doing incredibly well, Janet is the most dedicated hard working individual I know. She turns up for every single class 6 days a week and gives 110% . She’s super strong and a fantastic person to have in your classes’

SCL member HeidiMeet Heidi, an SCL member for just over a year.

Heidi became a member in 2023 after completing an Active Lifestyles referral. Heidi tells us all about her journey from navigating lockdown with a pregnancy related health condition to now attending regular group exercise classes and our CrossFit Bootcamp sessions.

My main motivation hasn’t been to lose weight, but to be fit and healthy for my little girl. The weight loss goes alongside that though and I have lost 5 and a half stone to date. It’s also had a massive impact on my confidence and mental health too.

‘I fell pregnant in late August 2019, stopped smoking at the end of September 2019 and then 2 months before my due date, we went into lockdown. Towards the end of my pregnancy I was really struggling because my hips had become displaced and I needed physio and crutches. Unfortunately at that time all non-essential medical care was withdrawn and this left me being unable to move much , which led to me piling a lot of weight on in a short amount of time. In total I put on 5 stone throughout my pregnancy.

When I had my little girl and things started to open up again I was referred to physio who also referred me to a weight management programme called ‘More Life’ which really helped me change my thoughts and habits around eating. I started to lose weight by just changing my eating habits and completed the course after 12 months.

After completing the course my weight loss stabilised until I stopped drinking alcohol, (unless I have a rare night out) then it started dropping again, until it stabilised again in September 2022. I remembered on the More Life course they mentioned there was some help available if you are overweight through the GP, a programme ran by SCL called Active Lifestyles. This gave me an initial session with an instructor and a 3 month gym pass. I asked my GP to make me a referral to the Active Lifestyles team and had my first session with them in January 2023’.

I’d never been in a gym before and felt quite nervous and intimidated about going into the new environment. I knew I needed to do this though and I psyched myself up for it. I realised after one or two sessions that everyone is in there concentrating on what they are doing and not really looking at what anyone else is doing.

‘The active lifestyles team gave me a basic workout to do in the gym and I mostly did that for around three months. I tried a few classes in that time, including Booty Bands with Danielle Kelly. After the three months I became a member.

Danielle encouraged me to come to other classes that she does and I now mainly do classes rather than go in the gym. I really enjoy them and feel they give me the motivation to do more and make a lot more progress. I’ve made friends in classes too. I have even been going to the bootcamp sessions on a Monday run by Chris at CrossFit. They are really challenging for me but I do it and feel great for it afterwards.

I’ve had a little bout of ill health at the back end of last year which has set me back a little but I’m determined to get back to where I was and further. Danielle has helped me when I returned back by helping me to ease back into exercise and giving me advice and options to help me in classes.

When I started at SCL my goal was to be able to run the parents race when my little girl starts school (which is next September!) and I think I’ve smashed that goal, although I’m yet to do it. Thinking to the future, one day I would like to do the Hyrox games… not to come anywhere near the top of the leaderboard but to do it and complete it for myself. It’s a long way off, but thanks to Danielle, Chris and SCL I definitely feel like it’s achievable for me.

What an inspiring story from Heidi, we’re sure you’ll agree. Keep us posted on your progress Heidi when you’re hitting the Hyrox Games!’

Meet Kendall, one of our SCL group exercise instructors. Kendall tells us a bit about herself and her Circuits class and what you can expect.

‘I embarked on my own journey with health & fitness in 2017, and as a result I fell in love with being active! Now, aged 34 with 2 young children I am the fittest I have ever been. My circuit classes on Fridays are a mixture of bodyweight and/or weighted exercises, suitable for all ages and abilities. They are 30 minutes long so easy to fit into your busy lives!

As a class instructor, I aim to engage with everyone and make sure that everyone feels welcome. I know from my own experience it can be daunting stepping foot in the gym & group classes, especially if you’ve never been before. I want my classes to be where members find a space to enjoy themselves when it comes to movement!

I thoroughly enjoy teaching group classes as the atmosphere is always fantastic and I find the motivation is shared, everyone turns up ready to give 100% and I really appreciate that from SCL members. Being healthy, strong and working towards our goals with like minded people is so inspiring. Aside from the physical benefits of exercise, the mental clarity you feel after class is better than anything. It really helps boost your mood and I cannot recommend exercise enough as a fantastic all rounder for our health. (It’s never too late to start!)

I currently cover at various centres with classes such as Boxfit, LBT, Circuits & HIIT body. If you don’t fancy my class on Friday’s or it doesn’t align with your schedule, you can ask me or the SCL team about other classes on the timetable’.

Catch Kendall’s Circuits class at Swinton & Pendlebury Leisure Centre, 6pm on Fridays. 

Beatrice GraingerBeatrice has just turned 96 years young and is SCL’s oldest member.

Apart from being met with a nasty fall, she is fighting fit. Beatrice attends 2-3 classes per week mainly at Worsley and Swinton & Pendlebury Leisure Centres. We asked Beatrice what she enjoys most about the leisure centres and the changes she’s seen over the years as a member –

I enjoy the diversity of my membership, being able to use a variety of centres and classes. The social side of the leisure centres is very important to me and the comradery between the staff and customers. Staff have changed over the years, as you would expect, but everyone is always so friendly and welcoming. The facilities have changed for the better, the studio is great, and the fitness suite has machines which are suitable for users of all ages and abilities. I particularly enjoy the ‘Easy Does It’ classes in the pool.

Beatrice had this to say about our team at Swinton & Pendlebury Leisure Centre – I find the team members quite special, their customer knowledge and the way they greet the members means you always feel very welcome, the more mature team members are wonderful role models for the younger team members.

I’m sure you’ll agree what an amazing lady Beatrice is, who is very well thought of by all the staff and customers at Swinton and Worsley Leisure Centres.

Cat DarbyMeet instructor Cat Darby. Cat tells us a bit about herself, her motivations and top tips.

“I fell in love with Zumba fitness 12 years ago and became an instructor, it’s been one of the best things I’ve ever done. I mainly teach Zumba and circuit classes using resistance bands or free weights. These classes are usually at Eccles Leisure or Rainbow Community Centre but you may see me pop up covering classes at other centres from time to time.

Teaching group exercise not only keeps me accountable, but it’s also led to many friendships with SCL class participants over the years. The one thing I will always try to emphasise is that your only competition is yourself, so please don’t be put off from coming. Nobody is judging you. Everyone is just showing up as the best versions of themselves (whatever that is, on a particular day).

My classes are welcoming and you will be greeted with a smile from both me and other participants. They cater to all fitness levels whether you come for the social aspect or to challenge yourself; I have had young teenagers to people up to 84, and complete novices to avid gym-goers attend my sessions over the years and everything in between.

I’ve continued my development in the fitness space, gaining my level 2 qualifications in Exercise to Music and Gym Instruction, as well as most recently the L3 Award in Pre and Post Natal Exercise, which was so valuable as I was pregnant with my baby girl at the time. I now feel much more knowledgeable about how to adapt exercises for this demographic too.

My tip… would be try everything at least once! There are many varied classes and instructors on the SCL timetable. Have a go at different types of classes and see what you think. Attending different styles of class will help you to keep your ticker in good working order, keep strong enough to continue to do every day things with ease as you get older, and supple enough to touch your toes which seems like a good skill to have if you ask me :) and let’s not forget the mental benefits. I defy anyone to attend a class and not feel better for it afterwards.”

Join me on the days and times below:

Day Time Class Leisure Centre
Monday 6:45pm Resistance Band Circuits Eccles
Monday 7:30pm Zumba Eccles
Thursday 7:00pm Zumba Rainbow Community Centre

And if these classes aren’t your cup of tea I’m more than happy to suggest other class styles and instructors to check out.

You can also keep up to date with my classes on Facebook or Instagram @findyourfitwithcat.

We introduce you to one of SCL’s PT and group exercise instructors, Barrie Holmes.

Barrie has worked for SCL since 2010, predominantly at Irlam & Cadishead Leisure Centre and Eccles Leisure Centre. Barrie tells us a bit about his motivations, what you can expect from his classes and why men shouldn’t shy away from group exercise classes.

‘Fitness is my life, with over 30 years’ experience in the military, I love it with a passion which will hopefully see me go on teaching and training for many years to come. I teach a wide range of diverse and result driven workouts including P90X, Metafit, Kettlebell, Cardio Extreme, Strength & Conditioning, Bodypump, Boxing and Calisthenics movement and stretch classes.

At my classes you’ll be motivated and encouraged. Most importantly, regardless of your level or experience – you are welcomed with open arms into a unique club, one where we have the same aspirations- to be better than we were yesterday.

My regular class goers affectionately call me the ‘Chief’ and we have a mutual appreciation, respect, and love for what we do week after week.

You’ll find a mix of both males and females in my classes, I think as men we can be a little old school and think ‘Let’s just stick to the gym scene – treadmill, barbells, and free weights’ – which is all great, what I would say is try something different and get out of the comfort zone of the dumbbell rack and treadmill.  Walk through that class door and let the instructor team show you how to lift, jump, kick, punch, swing, throw – you’ll be hooked!

We have some of the most amazing instructors at SCL, who deliver incredible workouts.  All that is required is to take that first step through the door and you will never look back – you may be hesitant and even a little nervous, but the instructors and the team will make you feel at ease and part of the family!

Check out our male led classes on the app or web timetable and why not bring a friend along as part of your member benefit? If you’re not sure which class to try, speak to a member of the leisure team for advice on which class might be the right one for you.

Meet Claire, our new Bodycombat instructor based at Swinton & Pendlebury and Worsley Leisure Centres.

Claire shares her motivation with us, from the first day she stepped into a class at Irlam and Cadishead Leisure Centre in 2017 to now fulfilling her dream teaching.

‘I joined SCL as a gym member in 2017 with the goal of improving my mental health and losing weight. At the time, I had never been a gym member before, and sticking to my new routine was challenging. However, the supportive community at the gym kept me motivated and helped me stay on track.

My first class at the gym was Bodycombat, and I found it to be a challenging and exhilarating workout. Initially, I couldn’t go for more than a minute without stopping, but I persevered and didn’t give up. Over time, I saw a significant improvement in my health, stamina, and mental well-being. Going to the gym was no longer a chore, but something I looked forward to.

Last September, after five years of attending classes, I decided to step out of my comfort zone and stand at the front of the class. The other instructors were very supportive and allowed me to come into their classes to practice. In February of this year, I passed my qualification and was fortunate enough to be given my own class right away.

As a teacher, I aim to engage with all of my class members, regardless of their ability or experience level. I recall how difficult it was to remember the names of the moves, let alone the choreography, so I try to be both verbal and visual with my coaching.

Joining SCL as a gym member was the best decision I ever made, and I have not looked back. At 48 years old, I am now two stone lighter and the fittest I have ever been in my life.

Come and join me in classes at:

  • Worsley Leisure Centre – Tuesday 5pm
  • Swinton & Pendlebury Leisure Centre – Wednesday 11.20am & Thursday 5.30pm

Meet Kelly Morley, a Salford Community Leisure group exercise instructor and part of our health and fitness community.

Kelly says ‘I teach a variety of classes from HIIT Step, Metafit, Strength and Conditioning to Spin Sculpt at Clarendon Leisure Centre but you’ll also find me at Eccles Leisure Centre teaching Spin. If you’ve ever been to one of my classes you’ll find really energetic music, which I think some would say matches my personality!

Everyone is welcome of course, and all abilities are catered for. Since we’ve restarted the classes at Clarendon Leisure Centre it’s been great to see some familiar faces back and also some new. So, if you’re looking to try out a class, I’d say don’t worry about being a first timer, my classes are super friendly and welcoming’.

Kelly has had a passion for fitness for as long as she can remember, but the various lockdowns over recent years have been a reminder of the positive impact of fitness on the body and mind.

‘Being uncomfortable with my weight gain over lockdown, I embarked on my own fitness journey, and have subsequently lost over 4 stone since lockdown. I’ve completely changed my body shape too by incorporating weights into my routine. I love to see and hear about the results our members achieve, not just for weight loss goals but for keeping in shape and the mental health benefits too’.

Check out Kelly’s classes at Clarendon Leisure Centre on the app or the group exercise timetable.


Shaun WantlingMeet Shaun, a member at Swinton & Pendlebury Leisure Centre.

Shaun, 50 has been an SCL member for over 5 years and the SCL leisure centres have formed a large part of his fitness journey to date.

‘I was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol in my 40s and decided that some serious lifestyle changes were needed.

The variety of classes and instructors are ideal for my fitness needs. The instructors are always helpful and offer advice and guidance to ensure I achieve my fitness goals and will work with you within your ability. Having access to different centres means I can plan my classes week by week to fit in with work and the variety of classes means I can ensure I get the right mix of strength and cardio workouts. The social side of SCL is great too, I’ve met great, likeminded people with a love of exercise and fitness.

Changing my lifestyle at my own pace has been a game changer. I was put into diabetic remission 2 years ago, with my blood pressure and cholesterol well below the usual level for my age.

I now compete in numerous triathlons every year and have recently completed a Coniston end to end swim (5.25 miles) in 2 hours 49 minutes! My goals for 2023 are to complete my first half iron distance triathlon, swim Ullswater Lake end to end and a variety of other events.

SCL will continue to form a large part of my training for many years to come’.