Vicar swaps her church for sessions at the gym

Lynn Boyle lifts some weights

A vicar who has swapped the pulpit for a bench-press says she has found a new fellowship in her local gym.

Lynn Boyle, 60, who is the vicar of St Paul’s CofE in Compstall, Stockport, has become a weight-training fanatic after instructors at her local Life Leisure gym encouraged her to take up the sport.

Lynn, who lives at the Vicarage at St Paul’s with her husband Mick, said: “I suppose the idea of a weight-training vicar is a bit unusual, but I’m not that kind of vicar! I’m all about breaking down barriers and trying something new.

“If you’d told me a few months ago I would be setting up barbells and dumbbells for a weight-training session I would never have believed you.

“I’ve been a member of different gyms on and off over the years and didn’t go very often, but when I did go, I would just go on the treadmill and keep my head down.

“Now I can’t wait to get to the gym and burn off some energy. It’s thrilling – I’m totally hooked.”

Lynn Boyle and Chris Walker
Lynn Boyle and Chris Walker

Lynn, who was headteacher at Fairway Primary School in Offerton for 18 years before taking early retirement three years ago, joined her Life Leisure gym in Romiley last year.

After building up to spinning and circuit sessions, Lynn was then persuaded to try a special ‘Weights 4 Women’ six-week course by her fitness trainer Chris Walker.

Lynn, who said Chris was a huge confidence boost and support, said: “It’s so intense you can’t think of anything else, you have to be completely focused, otherwise you could hurt yourself.

“It’s escapism, you don’t think about anything other than how much you’re pushing yourself and how quickly you can get through it.

“That’s why I like it. My life is based on doing all sorts of things in the parish and for others, but when I’m in the gym that’s time for me.”

Lynn, who is mum to Joanne and Peter, compares staff and fellow members at the gym to the church. She says everyone is welcome, no matter how fit they are, and there’s a community of people always there to help.

She said: “People find it intimidating going through the doors of a church, and they feel the same way about the gym, because they don’t know what they are going to find or whether they will fit in.

“My gym – just like the church – is a wonderful community where you are welcomed with opened arms. If you have any concerns there are so many people who are there to help and encourage you.”

Lynn has now signed up for a ‘Total Warrior’ assault course in Leeds which she says will be a true test of her new-found strength.