AFTER a much-overdue medical check-up, Peter Mortimor was faced with two choices: make a drastic diet change or continue to gamble with his health and risk suffering a heart attack at any moment.

Although aware that his regime of cakes, biscuits and ready meals was far from ideal, the grandfather-of-four was not prepared for harsh truths or to be told in no uncertain terms that he ran a 25 per cent chance of developing heart problems.

Still reeling from the unexpected prognosis, Peter, 67, who booked the free check-up in Wroughton Library last April, was approached by one of one of the council’s health ambassadors who immediately offered to outline a diet plan for him and offered to support him on his journey back to health.

Just nine months on, Peter has shed about 46lbs, bringing him down to 11st, all thanks to the Swindon Health Ambassador Service.

“I had had a health check the previous year; it was not very positive, but I did not do much about it. I booked this one and it was a shock,” said the retired IT worker from Wroughton.

“They told me I had a 25 per cent chance of having a heart attack or stroke within a few years. I should have been more sensible and not waited until I had a health scare.

“I realised that I was overweight, but I used to avoid looking at myself in mirrors. If you can’t see it there is no motivation to do anything about it.

“But when you hear it’s really damaging your health, it’s a wake-up call.”

Over a three-month period complete with regular follow-ups with his health ambassador, he was able to get deep at the heart of his relationship with food and most importantly to make better nutritional choices.

“You have to be disciplined,” he added. “I had a food diary and wrote down everything I ate and drank.

“Doing that focuses your mind on what and how you’re eating. I never used to look at what was in the food that I ate. I used to eat a lot of sugar and saturated fats, but now I try to cook from scratch. I feel much better.

“I have started walking my dog five or six miles a day. I am happy that I’ve done it now, but I wish I had done it earlier.”

The Health Ambassador Service provides free help and support for anyone over 16.

It is confidential and provided by a team of expertly-trained council workers who meet clients for six one-to-one sessions.

To find out call Peter Kent on 07824 868437 or email