A CYCLING slimmer is putting his new-found fitness to use by raising money for injured servicemen and women.

A CYCLING slimmer is putting his new-found fitness to use by raising money for injured servicemen and women.

Mark Hodgson has shed more than three stones in a year after deciding to join a weight-loss group, and has set himself the challenge of completing an indoor triathlon to benefit the charity Help for Heroes.

The 46-year-old cleaner from Wyton caught the gym bug after becoming unhappy with his weight, which increased after he left his job as a postman.

He joined a Slimming World group in September of last year, and within 14 weeks had gone from 15st 1lb to 12st 7lb - winning seven slimmer of the week awards along the way, and a prize for slimmer of the month.

To make matters more difficult, Mark, who now weighs 12st, has coeliac disease, meaning he has a gluten intolerance, and suffers from colitis, which stops him eating many types of vegetables.

He said: "I didn't eat very differently to lose the weight - it was just a case of measuring my food, and not eating any more than I needed to. I also started going to the gym and enjoying it more than I had before."

Having reached his targets so quickly, Mark has decided to test his limits by completing a mini-triathlon in the gym, consisting of a 2,500m row, 20km cycle and 5km run, which he expects to take four hours.

He said: "I suffer with coeliac disease and have colitis, but I know there are a lot of people out there who are less fortunate than me, so I want to raise money for them.

"The training is hard but I will be ready and I'm really looking forward to it. I hope that this will be just the start and next year I can raise money for the Coeliac Society."

Mark is an ambassador for his Slimming World group, which meets weekly in Godmanchester.

He said: "Losing the weight has given me a lot more confidence, and now wherever I go I encourage anyone thinking about their weight to try it."

INFORMATION: Mark's triathlon is on September 7. To sponsor him, visit www.justgiving.com/mark-hodgson1