Slimmer’s lofty plans after 11st weight loss

An East Yorkshire man is planning to celebrate losing more than 11st by fulfilling his ambition to take to the skies.

Brendan O'Donnell, who has been named Slimming World Man of the Year, stands next to a cardboard cut out of himself before his weight loss. Photo: Anthony Devlin/PA Wire

Thirty-one-year-old Brendan O’Donnell has today been named as Slimming World’s Man of the Year 2014 after his weight plummeted from 25st 9lbs to 14st 6lbs in just 12 months.

For years he has harboured dreams of learning to fly but Mr O’Donnell who lives in Fridaythorpe with his wife Sarah, has always been too heavy to commandeer a light aircraft. Now, having shed so much weight after joining a Slimming World group in Driffield with his wife, he has been able to book his first flying lesson.

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Mr O’Donnell, who works for insurer Aviva, has also taken up running and plans to try scuba diving this summer now that he can fit into a wet suit.

He attributed his success to the support he received attending Slimming World sessions and to some soul-searching of his own.

“I turned 30 at the beginning of 2013. You get to that age and I suppose you start to grow up a bit. I’d been lucky and didn’t have any health problems, but I began to wonder how long I could continue with the lifestyle I was leading and remain reasonably healthy.

“People always say that losing weight has given them a second chance at life but I’ve never been this slim before so I feel like this is my first chance and I’m determined to make the most of it.”

In the last year he has dropped from a size a 48-inch waist to a 34 inch waist, while his wife Sarah has lost nearly 4st.