GOING, going, gone! A diet and fitness programme has left a driving instructor a whopping 12 stone lighter.

Tony Mihill, 40, from Westcliff, decided to put the wheels in motion to lose weight last year, following a series of health problems.

He joined LighterLife in March, weighing more than 31 stones.

Tony has now set himself a new challenge to take part in this year’s London to Southend Bike Ride, a route of more than 50 miles.

At 6ft 2ins, Tony had always been an imposing figure, but after leaving his job in the City and setting up his own driving school business, APass4U, he noticed his weight had started to creep up.

Blaming the stress of starting his own business and not changing his eating habits for the weight gain, he said: “I didn’t realise how much I had gained, or how it was affecting my health until this year.

“I was suffering from sleep apnoea, back pain, high cholesterol and high blood pressure and sciatica.

“I saw a friend lose weight on LighterLife and wanted to do the same for my sons.

“I wanted to see them grow up.”

He added: “I felt diets were for women, but was surprised at how comfortable I felt in the group with the other lads.

“We were all in the same situation and all shared the same issues.

“I learnt more from the group about some of my problems than I did from the doctor.

“I have gained a better understanding of myself and now exercise lots, going to the gym.

“I also play golf and can now run – a few months ago I couldn’t even walk.

“Every medical condition I had has now gone.

“Recently I took my ten-year-old son to the cinema and he ran off to the toilet.

“I chased after him and when he turned at the door to see how far away I was, he was very shocked that I can now keep up.”