Ipswich: Britain’s former fattest man tells of new agony after losing 40 stone

IPSWICH: Paul Mason, once believed to be the fattest man in Britain, is on a mission to turn his life around.

It has been almost two years since the 50-year-old travelled to Chichester Hospital in Sussex for gastric bypass surgery and since then he has shed more than half his body weight.

Mr Mason tipped the scales at 70 stone at his heaviest and now weighs in at around 30 stone. But his drastic weight loss has left him with folds of excess skin surrounding his stomach, arms and legs and he is desperate for a series of three operations to remove it.

Determined Mr Mason – who used to spend �75 a day on takeaways and sweets – finds himself at a critical crossroads and believes further surgery is his only hope of living a normal life again. But health bosses have warned a frustrated Mr Mason that he must first reach his target weight and maintain it before they can give him the go ahead for the procedure.

Mr Mason, who lives in east Ipswich, today reveals that without this “vital surgery” he fears he will never get his life back. He said the surgery will help him towards his target weight of 23 stone and added: “I just need a little bit more help.”

He continued: “I feel like I have been just left high and dry. I need this operation to be able to get my life back – to be able to get back into society. It is stopping me living a reasonable life.

“It is an addiction and I will always get critics but it is an illness. I couldn’t just suddenly get better and I had to learn to control this illness. I decided that I didn’t want to die from this.

Most Read

“I have been determined since then to get help and I had to address the issues of my problems before I had the gastric bypass.

“My consultant says he’s always seen there is a skinny man waiting to get out but it is so frustrating to have got so far and just be at the final hurdle.”

During the height of his food addiction, Mr Mason would binge-eat in secret because he was “ashamed” of his problem and would at times take multiple pills at night to help him sleep.

He added: “I have times when I just sit and cry but then I think ‘I’m not going to let it get me down’.”

Looking to the future, Mr Mason said he would like to use his knowledge and experiences to help others.

He hopes to learn how to drive, to start a support group for people with eating disorders, including anorexia and obesity, and he is preparing to pen a book on such issues.

He added: “What people don’t seem to understand it that it is a mental illness, like most other addictions it is being hooked on something that is comforting.

“I did it (the Channel 4 documentary) to highlight all these issues to people. I have had lots of letters from people who are in the same situations as me. You don’t get much negativity.”

A spokesman for NHS Suffolk said: “Before a patient has an operation it is important to take a balanced decision that is in the best interest of that patient.

“In cases like this NHS Suffolk has a panel of people – including clinicians – who decide whether the patient should have such an operation. A patient must have a stable weight before he or she is considered.”

n What do you think of this issue? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or send an e-mail to eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk, or leave a comment on our website, www.eveningstar.co.uk