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Meet Dick - half the man he used to be

PUBLISHED: 20:41 01 April 2008 | UPDATED: 21:02 07 July 2010

The slimline Dick Baker who is up for a national award.

The slimline Dick Baker who is up for a national award.

Two years ago, Dick Baker was a ticking cholesterol and blood pressure time bomb who was told that he'd be lucky to see his next birthday.

But the grandfather from Norfolk is quite literally half the man he used to be after losing an incredible 16st to be in the running to become the country's "greatest loser.

Two years ago, Dick Baker was a ticking cholesterol and blood pressure time bomb who was told that he'd be lucky to see his next birthday.

But the grandfather from Norfolk is quite literally half the man he used to be after losing an incredible 16st to be in the running to become the country's “greatest loser.”

The 69-year-old from Hockwold, who was approaching nearly 30st, has shed more than half his body weight after receiving a stark warning from his doctor in December 2005.

“He said 'if you want to see September you'd better do something about it',” said Mr Baker.

So the retired lorry driver joined his local Slimming World club at Brandon on January 3, 2006 and has now reached his target weight of 14st and dramatically improved his quality of life.

Mr Baker, who in the past had to buy his 64inch waist trousers and 22inch collar shirts from a shop in Sheffield specialising in clothes for the larger man, has gone down to a 40inch waistline and 16inch neckline.

“Two years ago, I could not walk 10metres without being out of breath and having to sit down. I would get up in the morning and fall asleep reading the newspaper and would fall asleep while playing bingo on a Wednesday.

“But now I can walk, cycle, play bowls and walk around Norwich all day without feeling tired and my cholesterol and blood pressure is right down. I feel like a new man,” he said.

The father-of-two and grandfather-of-three has impressed his friends, family, doctor and organisers at his local Slimming World branch so much that he has reached the final of the organisation's Greatest Loser competition, which will take place in London later this month.

Mr Baker, who has been named in the final ten out of more than 350,000 Slimming World members, said he was “surprised” that he had been invited to the awards ceremony at Kensington Roof Gardens on April 29.

The Hockwold parish councillor said he had “enjoyed” the experience, which involved him cutting out fatty foods, big fry ups, bread, late night biscuits and crisps, and adopting a more “common sense” balanced diet. He added that fish and chips, chocolate, and cake were still allowed as an occasional treat.

Mr Baker continued his commitment to the “rigorous” diet, despite the death of his wife Beryl in the New Year.

Julie Steele, Slimming World consultant for Brandon and Feltwell, said Mr Baker was an “excellent” member and deserved the “greatest loser” title.

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