A POLICEMAN has joined a weight-loss group to get into shape for the London Marathon.

PC Dan Bishop, of Wellington, has already lost 23½lbs in four weeks through Slimming World classes and regular runs.

He was spurred on to beat the pounds as well as pounding the beat in his job by his sister, who went blind almost overnight through a rare disease.

Dan, 38, who is 6ft 5in and whose partner Chris O’Connor and boss Sgt Helen Boyd are also doing the marathon, said: “There aren’t many men at the Slimming World classes – I think it’s because they don’t realise it’s not dieting. It’s an eating plan – the way you cook and eat things and sticking to it religiously.

“Lots of my colleagues try to lose weight through their own diet plans, but they tend to lose a bit and then put it back on again.

“Through the classes we all support each other at the meetings and I look forward to getting weighed each week.

“Losing weight will make running the marathon easier. I’ve run a few half marathons but not a full one – I’d never run at all until three years ago.”

Dan and Chris will be raising money for Guide Dogs as a thank you for the help the charity has given to Andrea.

“She’s so pleased of what we’re doing – it means an awful lot to her and we’ve raised £4,000 towards our target of £6,000,” said Dan.

You can support them via virginmoneygiving.com/team/running4guidedogs




ANDREA Bishop had never had any sight problems until three years ago.

“I woke up one morning and I’d gone blind in one eye overnight,” said Andrea, 44, who lives in the Holway area of Taunton.

“I had a slight loss of vision in the other eye, but I just thought it was like when you wake up some mornings and rub your eyes because things are a bit blurred.

“But when it didn’t get better by the end of the day, I went to hospital and was registered blind within three weeks.

“I didn’t know what had happened for ten weeks, when they told me I had a rare condition called papillopathy, which causes the optic nerve to die.”

Andrea, who was a carer in the community, has been left with slight sight in one eye, but she struggles to make out faces and can’t see her hair in the mirror.

“I’ve lost my job, I can’t drive – I’ve lost my independence,” she said.

“It’s hard to see anything on the TV, but I’ve had my computer adapted and that’s my life now.

“I was healthy and active until I got this.”

Guide Dogs have given Andrea a Labrador called Sandy to help her cope with day to day tasks.

She added: “They’ve been absolutely fantastic and Sandy’s given me so much pleasure and changed my life.”