Two years ago, Gavin Preston was so overweight that he was unable to take part in a fund-raising sky dive for the hospice which cared for his mum.
The 42-year-old taxi driver would gorge on takeaways and spent all day sat down, creeping up to nearly 21 stone.
But the weight gain really hit home was he was unable to complete a sponsored sky dive for St Catherine’s Hospice, which required him to be under 15 stone.
And after he lost his beloved mum Irene Tounder to cancer when she was 67, he realised it was time to make a change and make a difference for the charity which helped her and the family in her final days.
He joined Slimming World in January this year, and although not yet at his target weight, he was finally able to do the charity sky dive on Saturday - followed by the Morecambe Bay Walk on Sunday.
Gavin, a dad-of-three from Walton-le-Dale, said: “I never really imagined I’d be able to do it - both days were fantastic.
After joining Slimming World I also did the NHS ‘Couch to 5k’ 10-week programme, and I run 5k three times a week now.Gavin Preston
“My mum always worried about my weight, so she’d be really proud.
“After joining Slimming World I also did the NHS ‘Couch to 5k’ 10-week programme, and I run 5k three times a week now.”
He added: “Originally the sky dive was just something I fancied doing, but then it really hit home when we needed St Catherine’s for my mum, just how much they do.
“She was in and out of hospital and we weren’t able to spend any quality time with her; it was so stressful.
“So it was a massive change for us all when she went into the hospice. Mum was a bit shocked when it was first mentioned, but it worked out for the best because she started eating well again and got back to her old self.
“It was amazing for her and us. We could visit whenever we wanted and take her on days out.”
Gavin’s Slimming World consultant in Bamber Bridge, Jo Shaw, said: “I’m so proud of Gavin’s achievement. He’s so much healthier and much more active than he was before he joined my group.
“St Catherine’s is a charity very close to his heart and he was determined to lose weight to enable him to take part in the sky dive. He is an inspiration to us all.”
Gavin alone raised £580 for St Catherine’s over the weekend, and the hospice’s total from the sky dive is an incredible £15,000 so far.
As part of the Lostock Hall hospice’s 30th anniversary Give a Gift campaign with the Lancashire Evening Post, hospice staff hoped to encourage 30 people to sign up for the sky dive. They weren’t far off, with 27 people bravely taking to the skies at the weekend for the cause.
For more details about the campaign, visit www. stcatherines.co.uk.