70-stone Ipswich man's Xmas hopes dashed

HOPES that a 70-stone Ipswich man will receive vital surgery before Christmas look to have been dashed, it can be revealed today.

HOPES that a 70-stone Ipswich man will receive vital surgery before Christmas look to have been dashed, it can be revealed today.

Paul Mason - believed to be the world's heaviest man - was hoping that he could be treated before the turn of the year.

Last month it was revealed that Mr Mason, from east Ipswich, was due to be taken to a hospital in Sussex for lifesaving treatment within a couple of weeks.

However now, it is believed he is unlikely to be moved by Christmas and will spend the festive season at home.

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Mr Mason, 48, refused to make a comment to the Star when approached at his home.

This comes as a new ITV programme is set to be shown over the festive season called The Fattest Man In Britain.

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Actor Timothy Spall will be playing the 50-stone lead in the one-off comedy drama which is set in Yorkshire and co-written by The Royle Family's Caroline Aherne. It is not believed to be based on Mr Mason's case and was filmed in the summer.

Spall, 52, who had to wear a fat-suit for the role, said: “I didn't have to put on any weight, I actually lost some during the making of it. It was hot in there.”

The Evening Star originally broke the exclusive story that Mr Mason's weight had ballooned in recent years and that he needed vital surgery to save his life.

A media storm was created after it was reported that Mr Mason was going to be flown in a Chinook helicopter to receive the surgery.

However, this was never believed to be seriously considered and a decision has now been made to take the patient from his Ipswich home to Chichester's St Richard's Hospital, in Sussex, in an ambulance which is specially designed to transport obese (bariatric) patients. The hospital's bariatric service provides new surgical weight loss treatment for obese patients.

The ambulance vehicles, partly designed by St John Ambulance, arrived in the county in 2003 and the four in Suffolk are among the only ones operating in the whole country. They contain specialist equipment, and come with a dedicated clinical team.

Major surgery is the last resort for Mr Mason, who is virtually immobile as he continues to battle his obesity.

What do you think about Mr Mason's plight and the plans to screen the TV show? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk.

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