A BRAMPTON man who recovered from a traumatic head injury to start a new career as a fitness trainer has been recognised at a national learning awards ceremony.

Simon Crampin was given a medical discharge from a 30-year career at the Ministry of Defence after suffering a serious head injury when he collapsed with food poisoning while on holiday in Cyprus.

He fell and struck his head on the floor, losing consciousness for five minutes and sustaining injuries that left him struggling with constant fatigue, lack of concentration and short-term memory loss.

Simon, of Manor Close, said: "The damage was done there and then.

"I fainted, fell dead weight onto a concrete floor, and was out cold for about five minutes. There was nothing that anybody could have done."

As a result of the accident, Simon, 52, had to give up his job in the press team at the MoD, but decided to retrain as a personal trainer.

Last week he attended an awards ceremony in Warwick, where he was named one of 20 finalists in the inaugural Lifetime Learner Achievement Awards.

Olympic gold medalist Darren Campbell presented the awards, which recognise the learning achievements, careers and personal successes of those who have obtained qualifications through training provider Lifetime.

"I'd been a keen runner going back 30 years, and I found myself in a position where I couldn't do what I had been doing," said Simon

"I didn't want to just sit around and do nothing, so I decided to retrain and do something that I really enjoyed."

After getting in touch with Lifetime, Simon began the process of completing the qualifications necessary to become a personal trainer, including a work placement at the One Leisure centre in Huntingdon.

Now, two years on, the father-of-two works on a regular freelance basis for the One Leisure Impressions gyms across Huntingdonshire.

Although he did not win the top awards at Thursday's gala dinner, Simon was pleased to have been nominated as an example of a Lifetime student who has successfully established a second career.

He said: "Being unable to call upon many of the skills I had used in the past was a significant blow to both self-esteem and motivation.

"Despite many of my family members' concerns about my condition, I wanted to retrain to improve my career prospects and get a foothold in to the fitness industry, with the ultimate goal of becoming a personal trainer.

"Although I found the retraining process demanding, the support I received was very helpful and, on completion of the qualifications, I felt a sense of achievement and motivation that I previously lacked."

Heather Frankham, founder of Lifetime, congratulated Simon on "overcoming such adversity", saying: "Simon should be extremely proud of his achievements and we wish him a successful future in the fitness industry."

INFORMATION: Visit www.lifetimeawards.co.uk