Kernan man Harold Beck is starting the New Year with a flourish, as he embarks on a diet and exercise programme to raise money for Southern Area Hospice Services.
Harold (69), a grandfather of three, is determined to lose at least four stone, and possibly even six, in the challenge which he estimates will take around 20 weeks.
The retired car sales manager (who formerly worked at David Prentice) will weigh in at Warehouse Gym, Meadow Lane, on January 1.
Gym owner Stephen Black has offered Harold full use of the facilities, and the advice and help of a personal trainer, for the 20-week period.
Harold will also be getting regular check-ups at Gilford Health Centre and following a diet based on healthy eating choices. “I’ll not be starving myself,” he said. “I have let things slip in the past two years but I will be 70 next July and I want to be around to enjoy my grandchildren for a few more years.”
This isn’t the first time Harold has embarked on a high-profile diet. Thirty years ago he lost five stone and raised £2,500 for a cystic fibrosis charity, with his story reported in the Portadown Times.
But since his brother Brian, who was nine years younger, died in 2015 he has been supporting the hospice where his sibling spent his final days.
Both Harold and wife Margaret volunteer for the local organisation and last year the model club enthusiast painstakingly restored a doll’s house which was raffled for the hospice, raising more than £2,000.
Now Harold is hoping that people will not only support his diet but that some may also join him in their own New Year weight loss resolution - and increase the amount of money raised for the hospice.
He has already recruited his cousin, Osmond Gurgan, from Banbridge, who is a partner in Annaghmore-based Universal Meat Company.
Anybody interested in sponsoring Harold or joining him in the diet challenge should contact Tania Bailie at the hospice on 07955 306 779 or email BailieT@southernareahospiceservices.org.