From 20st to 13st – the boys Fixed it

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Documentary Films Dad’s Battle Against Diabetes - By Sam Wil­liams

An emo­tional, hon­est and some­times shock­ing film cap­tur­ing an Ash­ford man’s fight against type two di­a­betes is now avail­able to watch on­line.

The doc­u­men­tary fol­lows brothers Ian and An­thony Whit­ing­ton as they at­tempt to get their dad Ge­off’s health back on track.

The film shows Ge­off, 64, trans­formed from an obese, barely mo­bile night-time se­cu­rity guard to a fight­ing fit en­durance cy­clist, pub­lic speaker and health ac­tivist.

Al­ter­ing his diet and keep­ing up with reg­u­lar ex­er­cise saw the grand­fa­ther, from Sin­gle­ton, drop from 20 stone to 13 and a half, and im­prove his cir­cu­la­tion.

Ge­off, who is mar­ried to Mar­i­lyn and also has step­daugh­ters Kerry and Me­lanie, said: “I’d never imag­ine I would do the things I’ve achieved in the last few years.

“No one could have been worse than me. I was a couch potato. I’d eat any rub­bish I could find. I can’t say enough about what the boys have done. They were in­cred­i­ble.

“I feel like a to­tally dif­fer­ent per­son. I hated salad and veg­eta­bles be­fore. Now I ac­tu­ally like them. I don’t even crave carbs now.”

The fam­ily also ap­peared on the BBC’s The One Show in 2014 to raise aware­ness of type two di­a­betes and their film.

An­thony and Ian, both ex­pe­ri­enced film-mak­ers, de­cided to make the doc­u­men­tary, ti­tled Fix­ing Dad, in 2013 af­ter Ge­off, who has suf­fered with type two di­a­betes for over 10 years, among other health con­di­tions, was told by his GP that am­pu­ta­tion of his foot was a pos­si­bil­ity.

The arch of one foot had al­ready col­lapsed as a re­sult of Char­cot foot (a com­pli­ca­tion as­so­ci­ated with di­a­betes) and the other foot was de­vel­op­ing ul­cers due to poor cir­cu­la­tion.

Now, two years later, his health has im­proved dra­mat­i­cally. Ge­off is on his bike ev­ery day and is plan­ning to take part in the Pru­den­tial RideLon­don for the se­cond time.

Ge­off’s jour­ney also made other fam­ily mem­bers get health­ier and be­come more con­scious about their life­style. Ge­off, who ad­mits it’s quite nice walk­ing around with­out a cam­era in his face th­ese days, said he still wants to lose an­other stone.

“Hope­fully it will in­spire oth­ers. If I can do it, you can too. I never thought you’d get me on a bike. Now I love it.”

Fix­ing Dad was re­leased last Fri­day on Vimeo On De­mand.

Jen Whit­ing­ton, Ge­off’s daugh­ter-in-law and An­thony’s wife is also writ­ing a book to ac­com­pany it, due out this year.

Speak­ing about the last few years, An­thony, 38, from Sha­dox­hurst, said: “We didn’t know how any of this would end. We hoped we could make dad feel bet­ter phys­i­cally but also re­mind him of how loved he is and how im­por­tant he is to the whole fam­ily.

“We had no idea that we could turn his pig-headed stub­born­ness into a steely re­solve that has pow­ered him through. We al­ways hoped he would come out feel­ing healthy and fit but he’s sur­prised us all.

“The best thing for all of us though is that we’re closer than we’ve ever been and, for all the tears and tantrums along the way, it was well worth it for how we all feel now.”

To rent or buy Fix­ing Dad, go to­de­mand/ fix­ing­dad. 25% of all rev­enue af­ter trans­ac­tion fees will be do­nated to the Paula Carr Di­a­betes Trust in Ash­ford, which has sup­ported the fam­ily through­out the pro­ject.

‘No one could have been worse than me. I was a couch potato. I’d eat any rub­bish I could find. Hope­fully it will in­spire oth­ers, if I can do it you can’

Ge­off Whit­ing­ton with his sons and One Show hosts Alex Jones and Matt Baker

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