A WOODLEY slimmer who’s transformed his life by losing almost five stone in just seven months is using his success to shape a whole new career helping other people change their lives and achieve their weight loss dreams too.

Simon Dickens joined his local Slimming World group at The Piggott C of E School in Twyford at the end of January, and has dropped from 20st 2lbs to a healthy 15st 6lbs.

After a serious motorcycle accident Simon's weight had severely increased, and earlier this year he received the news that he'd need a double total hip replacement.

Simon said: "I had just had an ankle fusion and was worried that my weight would delay my hip operations which could eventually mean I would end up not being able to walk.

"I knew I needed to lose weight to give myself the best chance of a quick recovery and to reduce the pressure on all my joints.

"I had never tried Slimming World before so I took my wife Lesley along for moral support.

"The consultant, Ellie, immediately put us both at ease. She explained how easy and how generous Slimming World's Food Optimising plan is.

"It was a great relief to know that, with some simple changes, I could still enjoy every day meals like a hearty breakfast ‘fry-up’, fish & chips, burgers and lasagne!

"I never felt like I was on a diet.

"Slimming World's Food Optimising plan encourages you to eat lots of tasty, filling foods like pasta, rice, potatoes and lean meat and fish, you are never hungry - no foods are banned so there's no deprivation.

"I have to admit, having tried other weight loss plans in the past, I was sceptical – all of this free, unlimited food and still lose weight?

"Imagine my shock when I got on the scales the following week and wow - I had lost 10½ lbs in my first week!

"I couldn’t believe I’d found a way to lose weight without starving myself."

Simon is determined to pass the message on that losing weight doesn’t have to mean restriction and misery when he relaunches his own Slimming World group on September 18 at the Reading Hockey Club, Sonning Lane.

Dr Eric Best, commercial director at the Reading Hockey Club, said: "Reading Hockey Club are delighted to be collaborating with Simon and Slimming World by offering our venue for 52 weeks of the year.

"With Simon’s expertise, we are very excited that our confidential setting will help the local community of Sonning and the surrounding area to benefit greatly - leading to happier, healthier lives as a result."

Team developer for Reading and Henley-on-Thames, Sam Page said: “Slimming World Consultants are chosen for their positive outlook and because they genuinely care about the health and happiness of others.

"With Simon’s experience of being a successful Slimming World member, his kind and warm personality and great sense of humour I just know that he’ll be an amazing support to members, cheering them all the way to their target weight.”

Simon’s Slimming World group will be held every Wednesday at 5.30pm and 7.30pm at Reading at Reading Hockey Club, Sonning Lane, Sonning from September 18.

For more information, or to join Simon’s group, either pop along or call him on 07875 101976.