Brookside star ‘felt like a fraud’ after making major life decision

A former Brookside star said she “felt like a fraud” when she decided to retrain at 35.

Paula Lamb, credited to Brookside as Paula Frances, decided to go to college after finding herself at a crossroads, with two children and a desire for purpose and stability.

But being surrounded by 18-year-olds and sharing modules with forensic biologists while studying health nutrition at Hope University was a challenge in itself.

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Award-winning fitness instructor Paula, 52, told ECHO: “When I went to college I have to be honest, I felt like an impostor.”

The Waterloo-based woman added: “I actually got up one day when I had just walked into the room and said to myself, ‘I think I’m in the wrong class.’

“And as I was going out, someone said to me, ‘You do nutrition, don’t you? This is your class.’

“I gave that big smile like, ‘I’m with you. I’m with forensic biologists.’ I think I must have said to everyone for about four weeks, ‘I’m in college. with forensic biologists’. “

Paula has wanted to act since the moment she could speak, and she still continues to act, currently rehearsing for a production of Desperate Scousewives at the Brindley Theater in Runcorn.

But she feared losing her identity to become a full-time mother, which she says many women go through.

So Paula went back to her roots in fitness, which she began teaching a class in her parents’ gym when she was only 12 years old.

Today, after 12 years of organizing bootcamps and boxing, Paula took home the Northwestern Instructor of the Year award at the Community Fitness Awards after being nominated by people in her classes.



Paula Lamb organizes a fitness class at her usual location in Old Christ Church, Waterloo

Paula told ECHO: “It is absolutely amazing, breathtaking for me to have won this award. I can’t believe it.”

She feels a sense of community with her clients, whom she describes as family.

And the victory is all the more important after the difficulties of getting around online over the past two years.

Paula was terrified and crying before her first online class in March 2020.



Paula Lamb capturing her fitness class in action lying on their mats at Old Christ Church, Waterloo
Paula Lamb capturing her fitness class in action at Old Christ Church, Waterloo

She told ECHO: “It can be quite scary. For some people, it’s hare in the headlights, isn’t it?

“I know other actors are physically ill before they go on stage. So that’s it.

“It’s the enormity and the responsibility that people are going to show, and you want to make sure that what you’re doing is worth showing up for.

“The first class was free. I just said, you know, come on if you want to use the link. I put it on all of my social media platforms.

“And I was actually terrified that no one was there and I was talking on the wall, like, ‘Hello, welcome to class,’ because I wasn’t Joe Wicks. I had no engine or publicity behind me.

“When we finished, over 200 people had attended the first class. I was like, ‘Oh, my God’. I was so overwhelmed.”

Paula believes that her experience of overcoming her fears is a lesson for others to achieve their dreams.

She told ECHO: “If you have a goal, an ambition, a dream or a wish, and anywhere deep inside that you think you can’t do, but you have a burning wish , face your fears and do it.

“You get a life. Go for it.”


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