Former Bluebell Girl opens fitness studio

From left, Keiran Mellikof, Debby Holmes-Smith, Chris Byrne and Alison Stoker
From left, Keiran Mellikof, Debby Holmes-Smith, Chris Byrne and Alison Stoker
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A FORMER model and Bluebell Girl has launched a fitness studio in Steyning.

Mum-of-six and successful businesswoman Debby Holmes-Smith, who started her career at the age of 16 when she was offered a contract to dance at the famous Paris Lido with the Bluebell Dance Troupe, owns The Bloomsbury Clinic in The Barn, Newmans Garden.

The clinic offers a range of beauty treatments and Debby has now launched sister company Bloomsbury Studio for health and fitness, including pilates, yoga and Zumba classes.

With the help of her children, she converted a rundown storage room into a bright and spacious studio.

“It was all black and falling down. There was mildew and holes in the ceiling,” said Debby.

“With the help of my children we were able to transform it within a week.”

Five of Debby’s sons stepped up to the challenge of turning the redundant space into something that everyone could use.

“It was a real family effort and it’s got eight coats of white paint in there,” she added.

Following her days as a Bluebell Girl, Debby later became a leading leg model for Pretty Polly and a top fashion model on the catwalks of Europe.

Starting her own model agency at 18 years old, Debby eventually moved into the realm of beauty and fitness after having her children.

“I moved to Steyning in 2010 and started Bloomsbury,” she explained.

“We cover all beauty treatments and complimentary therapy, like acupuncture, chiropractic treatments, sport therapy – really everything, as well as all tradition beauty treatments and now fitness.”

Debby said she is thrilled with its rapid success.

“I’ve had so much support from all the local businesses – a lovely bouquet was sent from the florist and Flicker-Rose helped with the furniture,” she added.

“I feel more of a landmark in the town now because some people are coming here four days a week for classes, as well as using the clinic.”

Studio manager is Chris Byrne, who found national fame having moved into Wavering Down, in Cross, Somerset, with comedian Frankie Howerd and his partner Dennis Heymer.

Mr Byrne, who entered into a civil partnership with Dennis following Frankie’s death, said he is now getting ready to share some details of their lifestyle which ‘will shock and amaze people’.

He said he had a huge amount of material, exclusive videos and photos, as well as material on Frankie not seen before and some revelations about other big names.

Keiran Mellikof will be teaching gentle rehabilitation pilates at the studio, and yoga classes are run by Alison Stoker, who teaches hatha yoga.

Visit the website, call 01903 879 721, or email for more details.