A FITNESS enthusiast has set a date for the grand opening of his newly built exercise studio in Lawford.

Fitness at Summers Park, in Dairy Barn Mews, is being launched by exercise specialist and personal trainer Dean Smith this weekend.

Mr Smith, 54, of Kiln Lane, Lawford, said he wanted to open a studio in a bid to give something back to the local community.

The dad-of-one said: “We went through a horrible period when the Home Office wanted to deploy my wife Grace to China, but we got so much support from the community.

“This is a way of saying thank you to the community and I want to give something back to them, offering professional advice and a training regime tailored to each individual.”

He added: “I had great success working with clients with diabetes, learning difficulties, obesity, Parkinson’s disease and I’m excited to help others on their fitness journey.”

In 2018 Grace, a Chinese national, faced being deported while she was seven months pregnant with their now 13-month-old daughter Amillia Faith.

After having three visa applications rejected by the Home Office, the Government department finally decided to approve Grace’s visa on “compassionate grounds”.

The decision came after a community campaign calling for the family to stay in Manningtree collected almost 4,000 signatures.

Carlo Guglielmi, councillor for Lawford, Manningtree and Mistley ward, said opening a gym is a “dream come true” for Dean.

He said: “We became really close after we fought the battle with the Home Office for his wife in 2018 and remained close friends, as we are godparents for his daughter.

“They have gone through hell and back and the whole community was here for them.”

Mr Guglielmi said he believes there is a real need for a fitness studio in the area, because more people are looking to move to Mistley and Lawford due to affordable housing.

The new fitness facility will provide modern equipment, extended opening hours, and will be open seven days a week.

The opening will be held 9am until 6pm on both days.