Abseiling setback prompts weight loss for college executive

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When Pete Johnson signed up for a fundraising abseil, he never thought his weight would be the biggest barrier.

But he discovered he was too big to fit through the hatch of Eastnor Castle near Ledbury, Herefordshire, which is 50cm by 50cm.

Not to be deterred the 48-year-old has decided to lose two stone in less than 10 weeks.

“The flaw in my cunning plan is I am too much of a porker and well over the weight limit,” said Mr Johnson, who is head of commercial enterprise at National Star College near Cheltenham.

“So the double whammy in my challenge is to lose the two stone I need to between now and September with the aim to keep going to a healthy weight.”

He is raising money for National Star, which transforms the lives of young people with complex disabilities and learning difficulties.

Weighing in at 20 stone, Mr Johnson joined Slimming World, and in three weeks he has lost 15lb.

“I told my doctor that I had a very healthy diet but I also had a more unhealthy diet on top,” he said.

Out has gone the three takeaways a week and the daily cakes and crisps. Now his diet is all about fresh fruit and vegetables.

StarBistro, which he manages at the college, has even added some special salads to the menu so he can resist the cakes.

So far 33 people have signed up to abseil down the 100ft turrets of Eastnor Castle on September 22, which is being organised by National Star and they expect to sell out all 100 places.

The abseil and the weight loss are just two of the things Mr Johnson, who lives in Ross on Wye, has planned for the next year.

“Next year I turn 50 and I want to be fit at 50. Even after the abseil I plan to keep on the diet as my target is 13.5 stone,” said Mr Johnson, who is married with a daughter aged 14.

At the beginning of the year, he completed 100 days of running and continues to take part in weekly park runs. He is aiming to run the Cheltenham Half Marathon in 2019.

“Working with the young people in StarBistro every day I see them overcome challenges that are simply part of their daily lives. Losing some weight and abseiling down a turret is nothing in comparison,” he said.

He is aiming to raise £400 and can be sponsored at https://cando.everydayhero.com/uk/porps

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