A couple who lost 15 stone between them are hoping to help others to slim down in 2014.

Simon Bartlett, of Romney Close, Braintree, turned to food for comfort after his wife, Tracy, was diagnosed with a rare auto-immune disease called Churg-Strauss syndrome, which badly affected her lungs, in 2006.

At their heaviest, Mr Bartlett, 35, weighed 18-and-a-half stone and Mrs Bartlett weighed 18 stone.

But three years ago, the couple made a pact to lose weight and were crowned Slimming World Couple of the Year 2012 after Mr Bartlett lost 6 stone and 12 pounds and Mrs Barlett lost 9 stone and five pounds.

Now the pair have trained as Slimming World Consultants and Mr Bartlett has started his own weight-loss group in Halstead. He is hoping to encourage more men to take control of their weight.

He said: “It just feels amazing and it’s changed my life.

“Losing weight can been seen as a women’s problem but I’m hoping to break the barriers down a little and get more men to join a group as men need to concentrate on their health too.”

Mr Bartlett’s Slimming World group will run on Saturdays at 8:30am at the Holy Trinity School in Beridge Road, Halstead. To join or for more information contact Mr Bartlett on 07947 150566.