Fitness duo keep pupils fit

Fitness club Heaven & Hell has been busy keeping staff and students at Harrogate Grammar School active in lockdown.

Monday, 22nd February 2021, 9:25 am

Their award-winning online classes have been a huge hit in just a few weeks and the team behind the brand have just extended their free sessions until pupils return to school.

Heaven & Hell Fitness was founded by Harrogate instructors Claire Eccles and Louise Annat.

Long-established with a faithful clientele, the pair ran many sessions from Harrogate Grammar School but that all changed a year ago, when gyms and exercise classes were forced to close.

Louise and Claire took the club online, built a new community and their following has soared ever since.

The pair, who have children at, or who have attended, Harrogate Grammar School, knew they had to do something to help the students, parents and teachers.

The school already offers three live PE lessons, so Heaven & Hell have complemented this offering with dozens of free live Zoom classes.

Louise said: “We have been running our classes at Harrogate Grammar for over 15 years and the school has always been so good to us.

“We wanted to give something back to the HGS community. This third lockdown has been so hard on everyone, especially in terms of motivation and mental health.

“Teenagers are really struggling stuck at home, parents too - and the pressure on teachers is huge.

“So, it’s been brilliant to reach out to them all. Over 60 people have signed up to our free classes in February and there is still time to sign up and try them before schools re-open.”

Claire and Louise are a firm fixture of the Harrogate community and have raised over £4,000 in the past year for NHS Charities Together and St Michael’s Hospice. The duo also won three Mumbler ‘Lockdown Local Hero’ awards for delivering their morale-boosting classes during the pandemic.

“We’re all about helping people to feel positive and energised, whatever their age and ability,” said Claire.

“It’s been brilliant to have so many people join Heaven & Hell recently, as online is of course so accessible. It’s been a lifeline for busy parents and teachers, and even the teens.”

History and politics teacher at HGS, Ms Panagakou, said: “I only started attending Louise and Claire’s wonderful online classes during February half term in an effort to help me regain my pre-lockdown fitness levels.

“I can honestly say that from the first session, I have felt fully supported and motivated to work hard in the comfort of my own home.”