Father of six from Kent who survived covid embarks on five stone weight loss challenge

  • Richard Claxton talks to ITV News Meridian reporter Tom Savvides about his experience

A father-of-six from Kent says he's changing his lifestyle after falling critically ill with Covid-19.

Richard Claxton weighed 22 stone when was admitted to the Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother (QEQM) hospital in Margate.

But despite his family being warned on four occasions he might not pull through, he recovered - and is now challenging himself to lose stone in weight and raise money for the staff that helped him.

Staff lined corridors and Richard's family were there to meet him as he was discharged (R)

Doctors at the QEQM told Richard his weight was a major factor in falling ill, spending five weeks seriously unwell at the hospital.

"I want to protect the NHS by me not going back into hospital because of my weight," the bus driver said.

"I'm now doing extra physio within the limits that I'm able to because recovering from Covid you're limited."

"I go for short walks during the day and that has helped," he added.

Thanks to these lifestyle changes, Richard has lost 18 lbs in 3 weeks.

Richard Claxton is now fund-raising for the hospital - hoping to hit his £2,500 target.   

He said: "If they hadn't given me the assistance and the support in intensive care and the care afterwards then I wouldn't have had the chance to fight.

"I just wanted to do something in a small way to repay something to the hospital and staff because they are amazing and fantastic."

  • Is there a link between weight and your coronavirus risk?

There's growing evidence that being obese puts you at much greater risk of the most serious effects of Covid-19.

A study published in March found that nine out of ten global deaths from coronavirus occurred in countries with high obesity rates.

Meanwhile the government says that in the first wave of the pandemic, nearly 8% of critically ill patients with COVID-19 in intensive care units have been morbidly obese, compared with 2.9% of the general population.

The Prime Minister Boris Johnson even embarked on his own weight-loss regime after contracting coronavirus in April 2020.

You can find more information about losing weight safely on the NHS website.