An Epsom personal trainer has been named as the regional finalist of a UK-wide health and fitness award, reaching the final eight out of 1,000 entries.

Darryl Ford, from David Lloyd Epsom, in Horton Lane, was selected as a regionalist finalist for the Coaching Hero of the Year competition for the south.

He was nominated by member Jennifer Jones for his “immense support” in helping her train for the upcoming London Marathon, after she gave birth to her third child.

The search for David Lloyd Clubs’ best fitness coaches across the UK was launched with an aim to celebrate the impact of a personal trainer on an individual.

This can range from focus on recovering from an illness or an injury, losing weight or building confidence in those who have never visited a gym before.

Jennifer is a member of David Lloyd Epsom and nominated Darryl because of his impact on helping her prepare for the London Marathon.

She said: “I first met with my personal trainer Darryl eight weeks post-pregnancy. Twenty one months later my body is better than it has ever been.

“I couldn’t have done it without Darryl, who has been a huge support and an inspiring coach to help me get here.

“With good varied sessions I don’t get bored, and with the more structured weight sessions I can see that I’m getting stronger.

“I decided to sign up for the London Marathon 2018 and Darryl was a great support for my training. I ended up running a 4:18:12.

“I am running again in 2019 and I’m feeling fitter than ever. I still see Darryl twice a week and still enjoy every session.”

The national finalists will be named soon after those selected for the last eight were announced on January 28.