MALE cheerleader Darren Peacock has heard all the jokes in the book about his un-manly hobby — but now the dad-of-two is having the last laugh after losing two stone in weight.

In just four months he has gone from 17.5 stones to 15.5 stones, by cheerleading twice a week and eating healthier.

It all began after Mr Peacock, aged 32, took his seven-year-old daughter, Amy Jorja, to an open session for Hunters Cheerleading in Horwich in 2012, and soon after was asked to help out with the lifting and tumbling.

After a number of impressive performances Mr Peacock was asked to join the stunt team at the Hunters — and the extra exercise saw the pounds falling off.

Mr Peacock, from Horwich, said: “The lads at work give me stick all the time, but I don’t care.

“I enjoy it. It’s fun plus there’s the health aspect too. I’ve lost two stone over the last few months and I put a lot of that down to the cheerleading and eating healthier.

“I am in the stunt group at Hunters so there’s no pom-pom waving. It’s definitely more manly. There are five of us doing various throwing, twisting and catching.

“Amy and I practise together at home a lot. It’s mainly me helping her with her stretching, balancing and tumbling. We’ll even practice when we’re on holiday.”

Mr Peacock, who works for a distribution company, is gearing up for the UK Cheerleading Association competition next month.

He said: “I’d definitely advise other men to get involved. It’s better than the gym. It’s not all about doing feminine moves like shaking your hips — it’s throwing and catching mainly.”

Hunters coach Alicia-Paris Fairclough said: “Darren is a complete asset to our senior squad and plays a huge role within the team.

“He brings enthusiasm, a fantastic work ethic and, of course, immense strength.

“His daughter is in our youngest squad and his extensive knowledge in the stunts we do helps his daughter’s understanding and progression.”