Denton dad’s incredible weight loss recognised with award

A FATHER-OF-FIVE from Tameside whose incredible weight loss has given him a new lease of life has been recognised with a special award.

Paul Barraclough was 23 stone and taking 20 tablets a day to treat a number of health conditions – including type 2 diabetes, hypertension, gout and depression.

Eight years later, the 56-year-old has lost a remarkable 11 stone, with the help of the Tameside Wellness Centre in his hometown Denton, where he attends the gym up to four times a week.

Now, Paul – a member of Active Tameside which runs the centre on Lance Corporal Andrew Breeze Way – has scooped the Member Achievement Award at this year’s National Fitness Awards.

“It was great to go to the awards and participate in it but to win it was a great experience,” said Paul.

“I was surprised to win because there were other people there that I spoke to in that category who’d done amazing things, so I was amazed to win. I don’t often say so, but I’m pretty proud of myself.”

Reg Patel, Active Tameside’s Interim CEO, added his congratulations: “This is fantastic for Paul and for Active Tameside. He is a great example of how positive transformations can be achieved when you set goals and put your determination into accomplishing them.”

Paul’s journey began when he was advised by his GP to exercise more as part of a vow to lose weight.

He had previously gone to gyms in Ashton and Hyde with a friend but, when his friend gave up, Paul lost motivation. As his health and confidence hit rock bottom, Paul managed to summon up the strength to start again and became a member at Tameside Wellness Centre.

His health has improved so significantly that he now takes just two tablets a day and says he feels the healthiest and fittest he’s been in 30 years, as a result of the regular exercise and healthier lifestyle.

Paul is the first to admit that becoming who he is today wasn’t an easy journey at times.

“I lost my mum to ovarian cancer within a week of her being diagnosed and it was a big wrench,” he admitted.

“We were all very close and she was the kingpin of the family who held us all together. It really hit home and I thought ‘I’ve got my children and my wife, if I carry on the way I am, I’m not going to be here much longer’.

“From an early age I was a big lad. Eight years ago, I was 22 stone, I had a 54in chest, a 48in waist and I’m 5ft 4ins tall.”

Paul continued: “Previously I could eat four bacon sandwiches easily for breakfast, for dinner I would eat pie and chips and a full packet of biscuits with a cup of coffee. It was easily done so the calories were piling on.

“I didn’t want to go out because my confidence level was zero. I didn’t want to speak to people because I basically felt ugly about myself and I’d felt like that for years, even before my mum passed away.

“I was a mess – losing my mum was the kick I needed.”

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