TEAM BEYOND CHOCOLATE
Fondly known as Team BC
Meet the Women of Team BC
Here is our amazing team, a group of dedicated volunteers who make the Beyond Chocolate community the welcoming, inclusive, supportive space it has been for almost 20 years.
These are the women who do the work. They run workshops, they staff on retreats, they manage our Twitter and Facebook groups and pages, they welcome newbies and moderate with such kindness and generosity. They talk the talk and they walk the walk, very single day.
These women rock!
Members of our online community will recognise Gretel Hallett as one of the people who answered their first questions and helped them in their early no-diet days. A trained BC. Facilitator, she provides mentoring for groups and individuals in Norfolk and online. She says her life is 100 % better now than in her dieting days and that she has "never been more grateful to embrace any movement".
Facilitator in training, Natasha Merriman, credits BC with saving her life. "Diet culture had taught me to ignore my needs to the extent I had uncontrolled asthma and was regularly hospitalised; BC helped me reconnect and own my body". When not whizzing round Hull and East Yorkshire on her beloved green bike, Natasha is admin for our Facebook community and promotes the no-diet life on the official BC Twitter account.
Abbi Welch left London and her corporate job with an international entertainment corporation to pursue her passion and now supplies the Edinburgh area with gourmet wedding & celebration cakes that look stunning & taste better. She runs the kitchen at BC retreats and keeps us supplied with food so good that eating becomes a sublime experience.
The late and much-missed Bex Lewis was a passionate advocate for Beyond Chocolate. As an academic and expert on life in a digital age she ran our Facebook page for many years and encouraged us to embrace the online world. Her death in early 2021 from Covid and the breast cancer she had documented to the end with honesty and humour caused #bemorebex to trend on Twitter- fitting tribute to a beloved friend and colleague. Bex had an extensive library of books and she so generously donated several boxes of them to our collection.
Hester Rugg came across Beyond Chocolate in Psychologies magazine back in 2008. She credits BC with changing her "internal and external landscape" whether that be moving to Ireland or taking the dance classes she'd always yearned to try. Hester regularly staffs our retreats, "Supporting other women in their change reinforces my own," she says. Her interest in women's issues informs her psychotherapy studies and her volunteer work. "Since Beyond Chocolate I find I can take myself to all sorts of places".
Kay Hornby's life has changed so much in the years since she discovered Beyond Chocolate. She's moved cities, got married, started her own business and become a mother but the one constant has been her commitment to the no-diet life. Kay mods our Facebook group, " I found so many friends there," she says, "that my hen-do just had to be a BC Meet-up for afternoon tea in London".
Hannah Bielby came to BC as a last resort and hasn't looked back, From writing newsletters to qualifying as a facilitator, Hannah has had many BC roles. She currently moderates the BC and children group as she navigates raising her children in a world of food freedom and body positivity. Beyond Chocolate helped Hannah discover a love of running and she can be found explornig the lanes surrounding her Yorkshire home in her rainbow leggings.
Laura Bonthron first came to BC in 2009 and particularly valued having an online community of like-minded women. She was a founder member of our Facebook group and continues to support BCers everywhere from her home in Scotland. Laura's favourite BC principles are Enjoy and Move and she combines them by walking her dog on the beach and swimming in the outdoor pool at Stonehaven.
When Wendy Frazer Googled for help to stop bingeing in 2009 she was stuck in a miserable diet/binge/purge cycle. Beyond Chocolate helped her leave disordered eating behind. "I have true freedom over what I eat. I have time and space to do things that bring me joy rather than weighing and preparing food!" Wendy trained as a facilitator and loves working to help other women find their own peaceful relationship with food. "I’m so much more alive and conscious than I was before," she says.