Daily Mirror

Worth the weight

Meeting lost childhood sweetheart 40 years on spurs gran to lose 8st


A GRANDMOTHE­R has shed nearly 8st and found a new lease of life after being reunited with her lost first love, 40 years later.

Julie Mutlow, 58, weighed over 20st, was a size 24 and was “in a dark place” when she heard from Mark Harris, 57, who she briefly dated aged 14.

The single mum-of-four, who has seven grandkids, had been told by her doctor she had a fatty liver, was “on the borderline of obesity”, and at high risk of diabetes.

But she turned her life around, spurred on by the Facebook message from childhood sweetheart

Mark. Julie said: “I was so shocked when Mark reached out to me that I didn’t know what to do.

“I’m quite shy and reserved, but my daughter said, ‘Reply, Mum!’ so I said

[to Mark] ‘Welcome to Facebook!’ and it just went from there.”

She and the keen musician dated briefly at school when they were 14 after meeting through Julie’s brother, but drifted apart and married other people.

In January 2021, Mark, who has struggled with depression himself, took the plunge and joined the site to contact Julie.

He said: “There wasn’t a

day that went by in 40 years that I didn’t think of her at one time or another.

“I tried to help coach her into becoming more positive and telling her that things will get better.”

Julie lost three-and-a-half stone in the first few months of 2021 by eating “as clean as possible”.

She joined a Slimming World group and shed a further four stone by swapping buttery toast and junk food for omelettes, fish and fat-free yogurts.

Carer Julie said: “I do not want to body shame people because big is beautiful but I was not happy in myself.

“I am living my life again – I don’t know what is going to happen, but I’m finding my freedom.”

Friendship has blossomed again between the pair, both from Swindon, Wilts. They feed the ducks in the park, drive to the countrysid­e and play music and sing together.

Mark, a retired soundtesti­ng engineer, said: “Ju deserves to go out and enjoy life – she missed out because she got married at just 17 years old.

“I didn’t realise how much more she was enjoying life now and I can certainly say she has a companion for ever.”


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 ?? ?? SCHOOL DAYS A slimmer Julie in 1979 in class picture
SCHOOL DAYS A slimmer Julie in 1979 in class picture
 ?? ?? BIG CHANGE Julie was 20st
BIG CHANGE Julie was 20st

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