A HEREFORDSHIRE father shed almost six stones in less than a year because he didn’t want his son to be “left an orphan”.

When Gerald Charles, who lives near Ross-on- Wye, lost his wife, Carol, in 2012, he gained more than three stone due to comfort eating taking his weight to 18 stone and 7.5lbs.

The weight began to affect his health, leaving him with aches and pains and no energy. With a family history of heart disease, he knew he had to shift the pounds before his 13-yearold son, Edward, lost his father, too.

The 53-year-old said: “I have always been big but I put on even more weight and I didn’t like what I saw in the mirror.

“I didn’t want to leave Edward an orphan, so I decided to do something about it.”

Gerald, a crematorium technician for Herefordshire Council, embarked on a strict diet plan organised by his Weight Watchers group based at Whitecross High School in Hereford.

And, so far, he has lost five stones and 10.5 pounds (80lbs).

He added: “Since losing weight I have far more energy and don’t seem to flag at the end of the day. I feel a lot more confident and generally so much better.

“I have followed the diet to the letter and I cut back on bread and cake.

“It has changed my lifestyle completely.

“I bought myself an exercise bike and do about 25 kilometres a week on that.”

Gerald added: “But the biggest help to me was being so positive in what I wanted to achieve, which is being around a little longer for my family.

“I am very happy about my weight loss but I’m still aware of the hard work which I have to do to keep the weight off.”

Janet Lawrence, WW group leader, said she was proud of Gerald.

She added: “He has been such an inspiration to myself and the other members .

“He is proof that you can lose weight and keep it off and still enjoy life, including tempting times like summer holidays, birthdays and celebrations.”