A former Halesowen councillor is hoping to inspire others after embarking on a dramatic weight loss journey which has seen her shed four and a half stone and drop ten dress sizes.

Donella Russell, who represented Belle Vale ward from 2012-2016, is now a trimmer, fitter version of her old self and has gone from size 22 clothing to size 12.

The married mum of two teenage sons started on her weight loss journey by accident when, weighing more than 16 stone, she was called to get involved in an issue affecting members of a Slimming World group which met at the Scout Hut in Elizabeth Road, Halesowen.

Donella, aged 48, who lives in Belle Vale, said: "My husband said 'you could do with losing some weight!'

"I bought a 12 week pass and I thought I wouldn't lose any weight so I wasn't really putting my heart and soul into it, but to my surprise it did work and the weight just kept coming off.

"So I bought another 12 week pass and I was getting healthier and fitter.

"Two years later here I am having lost four and a half stone."

Donella, who is married to Mark - the couple have sons Cameron 14 and Alex 18 - is now starting her own Slimming World group, meeting on Mondays at Belbroughton Church Hall on Church Lane, Belbroughton, at 7pm.

She also works full-time as a porter at the Queen Elizabeth hospital in Birmingham.

She said: "I would never have been able to do this job before the weight loss.

"I have become so much more active by walking an average ten miles a day, my asthma has improved, my blood pressure is back to normal and my diabetes has almost disappeared.

"My life has changed completely and I am much more confident in how I look.

"Slimming World has given me the confidence to change my life and the desire to help change others."

Donella, who lost her role as Belle Vale councillor in 2016 - by just 13 votes - is standing as Labour candidate in the Belle Vale ward in May's local elections.

Anyone interested in joining the group can call her on 07887 610717.