A PIONEERING fitness fanatic who promoted healthy living among South Tyneside’s older generation has died at the age of 87.
Veronica Plank – known as ‘Versatile Veronica’ – was in her fifties when she was bitten by the fitness bug.
And over the next two decades, the lycra-clad granny led exercise and aerobic sessions at locations throughout Jarrow and Hebburn.
Mrs Plank, of Kings Avenue, Hebburn, continued her impressive fitness work-outs until well until her late seventies.
And in recent years, she became vice-chairman of the Friends of the West Park in Jarrow, campaigning relentlessly for the restoration of the park.
Paul More, chairman of the Friends of West Park, said: “Veronica had been unwell for some time, and it is very sad to hear of her passing.
“She was the kind of person who stood up for what she believed in. She devoted much of her life to helping others and her community.”
Mrs Plank’s fitness odyssey began in 1977 when she saw a cine film of herself – and was shocked at the “enormous” person on screen.
After embarking on a Slimming World class in Jarrow she went from 14st to 8st in weight –- and never looked back.
Later, she was persuaded to become a Slimming World teacher herself, inspiring others to lose weight.
A funeral service for Mrs Plank, a mother-of-two and wife to late husband George, will be held at St Michael and All Angels Church, in South Shields, on Monday at 9.15am.
It will be followed by a private cremation.