From Brookie to Bootcamp – actress Paula wins the Top Fitness Instructor Award
It’Unsurprisingly, fitness trainer Paula Lamb puts her class through its paces to music from stage musicals like Hairspray or leads burlesque and Broadway boot camps from her Waterloo-based boards on stage.
As Paula Frances, she was Diana Corkhill in Brookside and she continues to work as an actress – she appears in Desperate Scousewives 2 at the Brindley Theater in Runcorn this month.
But now she’s right at the top of the bill in the fitness world too, having just been named a North West Community Fitness Instructor 2021.
âAnd I’m more than thrilled,â she says. âI am grateful and very honored. I never thought that a small one-woman band would even run for such an honor.
âBut it’s a community award and my classes are not just about the physical, but also the mental and spiritual. It’s about creating a space in which people feel they belong, where they are accepted and supported – we are like a family. “
Paula, 52, is best known for her role in Brookside, where he played PC ‘Rod the Plod’ Corkhill, who was plagued and abused, from 1990 to 1993.
Less known, however, is her fitness role – in which she plays from the age of 12!
âMy mother and father opened a gym in 1982, City Health Studio on County Road, Walton, and my father took me there,â she says. âThere was a lady who was taking a fitness class and one evening she didn’t show up and I asked my father if I could take it. (It was only a 10 minute class).
âHe agreed – and the members said, ‘We love the new girl’!
âMy dad gave me a job a couple of nights a week, and when I was 14 I took an aerobics class.
“Even during my Brookie years, 1990-1993, I continued to teach fitness, and I always have.”
However, after having children – Alexandra is 23 and Callum is 21 – fitness played a bigger role in Paula’s life.
âWhen Alexandra was born, I decided to take a year off and then for Callum,â she explains, âand in the end it was seven. I went back to work and did a nationwide tour of The Naked Truth with Lisa Riley, which I loved, but found being apart from the kids unbearable.
“Even though I came home on the weekend, I hated being away so I asked to leave the show.”
Paula continues, âWhen I was 35 I decided to renew all of my qualifications so I went to Liverpool Community College to do dance, aerobics, Pilates and other things and then I went to university to do health, Studying Nutrition and Fitness – I Got a First Class Degree! – and I started bootcamping in Waterloo 12 years ago. “
She runs her business Corefit from the Old Christ Church in Waterloo and Paula has built a capacity of 300 customers.
She offers a range of courses including Boxing to the Beat (which she created) and private workouts.
During Covid, she started online training two days before the official lockdown after learning where the journey was going (‘I have a lot of teachers and nurses training with me’): “My husband Brian helped me with all the technical Things helped “but I took it in the water like a duck – like all my members. I have my own YouTube channel and now I teach classes online and in person and there is a choice for everyone.
âThe Old Christ Church is so big that I can fit 40 people 2.5 meters away which is great and I’m happy to say that none of my classes have any person died of Covid. I am proud of that and of the fact that we were able to train safely again. “
The award has sparked further pride!
âWhen they said my name I was stunned, there are some great teachers out there, but I feel really privileged … and flattered.
âIt’s a community award, and we were – and are – a community, we are there for one another. It’s hard to ask for help, we all know, but here we can. We’ve had women who raised their children alone, their marriage has failed and they meet someone here who is in similar circumstances and they support each other and go on vacation together or they go out for a drink together – and that’s what it’s about in the community.
“It’s more than just movement – it’s a safe place where people feel they belong and are not judged.”
Paula adds, âI still love to act – and to do – and I love fitness. But being in class is like being on stage – not everyone can stand in front of 50 people and do the lessons, do sports – and have fun.
âThat’s how I get my stage success – and my members laugh and say, ‘She thinks she’s not acting,’ but it’s great and they give in to me.
âWe’re all having a great time – and that’s what it’s about. We have had T-shirts made that say, âTogether we are strongerâ because we are. And the award underpins all of that. “
* Paula will perform in Desperate Scousewives 2 at the Brindley Theater in Runcorn on November 24th and 25th you can book tickets here.