Kind gesture saw Rachel ready for her TV spotlight

Rachel Gibson with Simone and Zoie of Wardrobe by Simone. (s)
Rachel Gibson with Simone and Zoie of Wardrobe by Simone. (s)

A last minute TV appearance to discuss an incredible 25-stone weight loss led to the age-old dilemma facing women all over the world for a Clitheroe woman... what to wear?

Rachel Gibson (34) of Clitheroe was invited to appear on ITV’s This Morning after her incredible story was featured in the Daily Mail and in turn, shown massive kindness by a local shop owner.

In 2008, Rachel was a size 34 and weighed 35 stone. Warned by doctors that being so morbidly obese would drastically decrease her life expectancy, Rachel opted for gastric band surgery and over the following six years, lost an incredible 25 stone, bringing her down to her current weight of 10 stone, 13 lbs.

Rachel’s amazing progress, however, did not come without its downside. She explained: “I look good with clothes on, but without them I feel like a freak. My arms, legs, stomach and breasts are horrendously baggy and there are folds of excess skin everywhere.

“Unfortunately, I’m not entitled to have the skin removed on the NHS as guidelines have changed and it’s now classed as a cosmetic operation.

“It will cost approximately £32,000 to go ahead with the procedure and I don’t have access to that sort of money. I feel like I’m stuck with this hideous body.”

Married to John and with three children Jack (11), Max (6) and Amy (3), Rachel was approached by national newspaper the Daily Mail to tell her story, and subsequently invited to discuss her journey on the popular daytime TV programme This Morning.

She continued: “Although I was really nervous, I thought that going on the programme was a good opportunity to highlight the big differences in funding, which can depend on who you are treated by and where you live – it’s a lottery. I’m devastated by how I look and it makes it seem even more unfair that I know of people who have lost much less weight, yet have been approved for surgery to remove the excess skin.”

Having been invited on the flagship ITV show, Rachel’s next dilemma was what she could wear to feel confident enough to be able to get her story across to the thousands of viewers watching.

She said: “It was really short notice when I got the call inviting me to London to film the show and I was feeling really low. I decided to call into Wardrobe By Simone in Whalley on my way to the station, as I’d had a couple of things from there before and loved their style of clothes.

“I explained the situation to Simone and asked if she could help and she was so kind – picking things out and advising on what suited me. I felt amazing in the outfit we eventually settled on and could not believe it when Simone said she was giving it to me. I’m still absolutely overwhelmed that someone could be so lovely to me and show such kindness.”

Simone said: “We are so delighted to have been able to help Rachel – she’s been through a lot and I just wanted her to enjoy the outfit and feel confident for the TV appearance. It was so exciting to be able to see her wearing our clothes on the telly too!”