CHEF Gregg Wrigley is half the man he used to be.
After shedding a total of 16 stone, he had an operation to remove 10-and-a-half pounds of excess skin and now the 31-year-old needs another procedure to complete his transformation.
Now he needs £3,500 for the next one, to remove five pounds of saggy skin, and will once again appeal for sponsorship to take part in the “brilliant but horrible” Tough Mudder UK later this year — a 12-mile assault course designed by Special Forces to test strength, stamina and determination.
His brother Phil is getting married in October so Mr Wrigley, a sous chef at St Catherine’s Academy, hopes to have the operation during the school’s Easter holidays, in time for his suit fitting.
Mr Wrigley, who moved back to his parents in Breightmet Fold Lane, Breightmet, to save money for the surgery, said: “It will be a massive change.
“Even now I still look a bit overweight with saggy skin.
“I’m the fittest now I’ve ever been, but this last lot needs chopping off rather than working off.
“I’ve got little wings at the side so they will be removed.
“They will move my nipples and put them back where they should be and pull everything up.”
His sister Rebecca Stone gave him the incentive to lose weight when her first daughter, Steph, now aged five, was born, and he embarked on a gruelling diet and exercise regime — losing a total of 16 stone.
He said: “The initial thing was my sister saying she was pregnant, and I’m not going to meet my niece if I don’t do anything about it.”
Mr Wrigley’s passion for food began when he ended up in the home economics class at Canon Slade School by default, preferring to play football at lunch-times rather than selecting his options.
He studied catering at Bolton College before working at places including the Last Drop Village and The Village, Bury, surrounded by food. Working as a chef at hotels, he would devour cooked breakfasts before snacking on sandwiches, chips and crisps then going out with work pals for a curry, washed down with pints of beer, in the evening.
At the age of 21, he tipped the scales at more than 30 stone.
He started going to Weight Watchers and cut down on alcohol, swapping weekend hangovers for workouts at the gym. Fry ups and Indian feasts have been replaced with cereal, fruit, salads, pasta and chicken dishes and his exercise regime includes swimming, boxing and kettlebells.
Mr Wrigley, who now weighs 15 stone and wants to lose another stone, appeared in The Bolton News in November 2012, appealing for the NHS to remove the excess skin which was making his life a misery.
Speaking of relationships and the impact it had on his love-life, he said: “I didn’t bother, it was horrible.
“I’m more confident now to get into a relationship but still a bit dubious because it’s not finished yet.”
In December, 2012, he was told the surgery could not be routinely funded by the NHS and was approached by Channel 4.
He admits being dubious at first but agreed to take part in the show, which was aired last month, and was delighted with the results and support he has received since from friends, family and colleagues.
He said: “All those shows to me are sob stories and I’m not like that.
“I’m not a miserable, down person. They can make people look dead morbid and sad, but the producer said it’s not that kind of show. It’s not Embarrassing Bodies, they were not going to take the mickey. It was to show how people struggle with funding on the NHS.”
Being filmed for the show helped when asking for sponsorship and he raised £3,000 towards the cost of the first operation, borrowing the rest from his parents.
He had it done in July, undergoing the four-and-a-half hour procedure at a hospital in Ormskirk.
He said: “I was excited to get rid of it but nervous because all the doctors were saying about how major an operation it was. It was a massive mix of both. They had to cut all the way round and cut a big apron out.”
And how did he feel after the operation?
“Sore. I looked ridiculous. I had little pumps squirting fluid out. I was like an octopus. I had it on the Saturday morning and, on the Sunday morning when the swelling had gone down, the shape difference was massive. I’m definitely 90 per cent there. I wouldn’t have had the first operation if I hadn’t done the show.”