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 Couple Barry and Andrea Rea from Ballinlough, Co Cork, at the Operation Transformation 2020 assessment day alongside the 19 other aspiring ‘leaders’. Barry cooks from scratch in the home, but has a habit of adding butter and cream to their dishes. Picture: Andres Poveda
Couple Barry and Andrea Rea from Ballinlough, Co Cork, at the Operation Transformation 2020 assessment day alongside the 19 other aspiring ‘leaders’. Barry cooks from scratch in the home, but has a habit of adding butter and cream to their dishes. Picture: Andres Poveda
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Cork couple down to last 20 for ‘Operation Transformation’

A Cork couple are among 20 people in the running to become ‘leaders’ in the next series of RTÉ’s Operation Transformation (OT).

The aspiring leaders from all over the country gathered together for the first time in Santry yesterday to be physically and emotionally assessed for a possible place in the 13th series, which will air on RTÉ One in early January 2020.

Andrea and Barry Rea, from Ballinlough, are one of two married couples on the leader shortlist.

Scientist Andrea applied first, having watched OT over the years. When she told her husband Barry, a physiotherapist, he also decided to apply.

Barry turns 40 in July 2020, and at just over 29st, this is the heaviest he has been. He strongly feels OT could be ‘the kick in the arse’ that he needs to start moving in the right direction. Andrea said she has always had to watch her weight.

Barry does all of the cooking in their house and is a great cook. But there is a downside to this — he likes to add butter and cream to their dishes.

He cooks from scratch most nights and Andrea has found since they started going out that her portion size is much bigger than ever before.

This year, the audience can get their first look at the fab five for 2020 as each leader is revealed Monday to Friday next week from 12.30pm on rte.ie/lifestyle.

Presenter Kathryn Thomas was also at SportsLink along with the four OT experts to encourage and motivate the group. The four experts are Karl Henry, fitness expert; Dr Eddie Murphy, a principal clinical psychologist with the HSE; Aoife Hearne, a registered dietitian; and Healthy Ireland Council member and GP Dr Sumi Dunne.