STREAMLINE taxi driver Bill Hunter is living up to his job title after losing almost six stone in six months.
The 51-year-old has also pocketed £500 in prizes as part of the innovative Hartlepool Arriba! 12-Week Community Weight Loss Challenge.
He has completed two of the challenges and has signed up for a third in bid to lose 10 stone in total.
Six months ago he weighed in at 22st 10lb and now tips the scales at 16st 11lb.
Bill, a 5ft 7in dad-of-two, is proving an inspiration to other challenge members and is already looking ahead to his third one which starts next week.
As part of the challenges members win cash prizes ranging from £300 to £100, depending on class sizes and Bill has come first and second in his previous challenges.
Bill, of the Jesmond Road area of town, who has been driving taxis for 23 years, said: “Someone told me I look 10 years younger and I honestly feel it.
“Before I started the community challenges I felt awful in myself and did not like myself.
“Apart from the health benefits of losing so much weight I am so proud of what I have achieved.
“This has been life-changing for me.
“Because of my weight I know I would have had a heart attack or a stroke and decided to just go for it.
“I just wanted to change my life and because of the 12-week challenge and the spirit, support and encouragement I have been shown I have done that.
“Now I aim to hit my target of 10st.”
The challenges focus on sustainable weight loss and healthy lifestyles and cost £39 for an initial session and 12 classes. The money goes towards the cash prizes, room hire and running of the community classes.
Award-winning health coach Jackie Liddle, who runs the hugely-successful community challenges twice a week, has helped people lose more than 400 stone since starting the classes in Hartlepool 20 months ago.
She said: “We’ve all been so inspired by William’s determination and success. We all knew he had a long journey but he just buckled down and got on with it.
“He always turns up to class with the biggest smile and with a word of encouragement for everyone else too.
“Everyone is determined to help him reach his target of losing 10st and he is definitely capable of doing it.”
The next 12-Week Community Weight Loss Challenge challenge starts on Tuesday, February 8 at 6.45pm. Full details of the challenges are available at firstname.lastname@example.org or 07939518948.