A grandfather is looking forward to welcoming 2017 in on top of the world after losing more than 10 stone in two years,
Del Singh, of Eastfield Road, will start the final part of the trek to the top of Mount Kilimanjaro as the clock strikes midnight on New Years Eve - and in the first few hours of the new year he will stand at the top of Africa’s highest mountain.
Del - who has five children and four grandchildren - now weighs 11 stone - a remarkable achievement after weighing in at a ‘morbidly obese’ 25 stone in 2014.
Del said: “I work in IT for Oracle, and it is a very sedentary job. I went for a medical at work, and they said it was a real health issue, and I needed to lose at least eight stone.
“I had been on diets before - I had lost weight, but I was miserable doing it, and would eventually stop, and put the weight back on,
“What brought the issue home was going to a friend’s funeral - seeing someone my age in a coffin really made me think.
“I decided to look into surgery, and had a gastric sleeve - where three quarters of the stomach is lost. I had the surgery privately on October 1 in 2014.
“It was difficult at first - I can now only eat much smaller portions of food.
“I have also started walking every night, and cycling.
“My kids say it is like I am dad 2.0, because I am like a new man.
“When I started this year, I said I wanted to do a challenge - something to really push the boundaries of what I could do.
“A number of people spoke about climbing Kilimanjaro. It is not quite climbing Everest, but it is still a difficult, high intesity climb.
“I will fly out on Boxing Day, and get just below the summit on New Year’s Eve - and start the final climb a few hours later, still at night.”
Del will be raising money for Sue Ryder’s Thorpe Hall Hospice during the climb - and will be taking part in a number of fund raising events in the lead up to the climb - starting at the Westgate branch of Lloyds TSB on Friday.
He added: “Having the surgery to lose the weight has given me a new lease of life. It is not for everyone, but I would encourage people who need to lose weight quickly to really have a look into it, speak with their family and consider it.
“I’ve spoken to a number of people about this, and given them advice and tried to help. It is not something people like to talk about, especially men, so if I can help one person then I think it will be worth it.
“I’m hoping this Kilimanjaro challenge will be the first of many challenges I can do. I’m not sure what I will do next year, but we will have a look. I can’t run marathons, but I can walk, and it is something I will look at.”
To sponsor Del, or to read more about his journey, visit www.bariatricman.com