Sports skills shared with Upbeat kids

Waseem Khan, Selen Gundaz and Fax player Luke Ambler during Upbeat keep fit classes, in the Aspire Centre @ Calderdale College.

Waseem Khan, Selen Gundaz and Fax player Luke Ambler during Upbeat keep fit classes, in the Aspire Centre @ Calderdale College.

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Halifax RLFC player Luke Ambler inspired children as part of a get fit initiative.

The sporting star, aged 23, has come on board with the Calderdale Council-led Upbeat programme - which runs special groups for children who are primarily overweight and obese – as an ambassador.

Upbeat keep fit classes in the Aspire Centre @ Calderdale College.

Upbeat keep fit classes in the Aspire Centre @ Calderdale College.

Upbeat clubs have been taking place for children of all ages over the summer holidays with activities ranging from fencing to quick cricket to American football.

Luke - who’s from Holmfield – said he was inspired by the project due to a personal battle with his own health.

He said: “I was affected a bit by some problems. I used to be massively overweight - there’s no kid here as big as me.

“My mum and dad broke up when I was about eight. I constantly ate, I got really big.”

Luke then turned to sport and has never looked back since.

He said: “I started learning rugby, I lost my weight.

“Rugby was something I fell in love with.”

Luke said that feedback from the kids has been overwhelming – in particularly from one little girl, Selen Gundaz, who praised him for inspiring her to never give up.

Luke said: “It was quite inspiring for me that I could relate to someone, that I could inspire someone.

“She thinks now she can achieve what she wants.

“It made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up.”

Karen Beazley, family health and fitness officer for Upbeat, said Luke was now a key player in the team.

She said: “Luke came on board about six to eight months ago.

“He found out what we did and really loved it because when he was younger he had quite a lot of drama with his parents breaking up – he gained a lot of weight.

Children aged from five to 15 attend the Upbeat club during the school holidays.