Search for Operation Transformation leaders

Presenters Ray D'Arcy and Kathryn Thomas with leaders from 'Operation Transformation' season 8, Alan Mullen, Eilish Kavanagh, Louise Ormsby, and Mark McArdle Picture: Sam Boal

RTÉ is looking for five people to step up to the plate and change their relationship with food forever.

The Ray D’Arcy Show is the new radio partner for the ninth series of RTÉ One’s Operation Transformation.

Yesterday, presenters Ray D’Arcy and Kathryn Thomas launched a nationwide call for new leaders.

Ray said he was very excited about the radio programme’s involvement with Operation Transformation this year.

“We’re big fans in our house. I think it’s a very important show. It gives people who are struggling with their weight a focus and a great sense that they are not on their own,” he said.

“We hope that listeners jump on board and join us on RTÉ Radio 1 for eight weeks that could change your life.”

Kathryn said she loved the positivity of the show and everything that it stood for, but that its life blood were the leaders who made it what it was.

“We need to tackle obesity and we need people to apply,” she said.

Kathryn urged family members to tell a loved one to download the application form from www.rte.ie/ot/

Four of last year’s five leaders — Eilish Kavanagh from Bunclody, Co Wexford; Mark McArdle from Dunleer, Co Louth; Louise Ormsby from Adamstown, Dublin; and Alan Mullen from Moate, Co Westmeath — met yesterday to encourage potential new leaders to come forward.

At the catwalk finale last February, the 2015 leaders, including Veronica Horgan from Clonakilty, Co Cork, had lost a total of 9st 13½lbs during their Operation Transformation journey.

Alan, 21, was the show’s heaviest and youngest male leader to date. He subsequently just over 6st and now weighs 20st 8lbs.

He said: “Operation Transformation changed me completely. I know exactly where I want to be and know that I need to keep myself from slipping. If I hadn’t done it I’d be in a graveyard.”

Safefood’s human health and nutrition director, Dr Cliodhna Foley-Nolan, said the organisation was happy to continue sponsoring Operation Transformation.

“With Ireland’s current obesity epidemic among children and adults, the show generates important collective debate and valuable discussion about what is a serious public health issue while also offering practical solutions for viewers,” said Dr Foley-Nolan.

During November, The Ray D’Arcy Show will broadcast live from Santry in Dublin where a final selection of 20 applicants will gather to be assessed.

When the television show gets under way in January, The Ray D’Arcy Show will follow the leaders as they undergo a series of tough quests, as well as the national campaigns.

Last year’s series drew an average viewership of some 469,000.

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