'It was really scary' - professional bodybuilder required ventilator while in hospital with Covid-19

Stuart Core was in hospital for a week after contracting the virus, Credit: BPM Media/Plymouth Live.

A professional bodybuilder is urging people to take coronavirus seriously after it left him seriously ill in hospital with a ventilator breathing for him.

Former 'Mr Britain', Stuart Core, thought Covid-19 would not affect him badly.

But the virus made the 41-year-old, who owns Corefitness Gym in Plymouth, so unwell he was placed on a ventilator at Derriford Hospital.

He said: "I was in hospital for seven days. It was just an eye-opener, it was really scary.”

Stuart made a video with University Hospitals NHS Trust, which runs Derriford, to remind others that the virus could lay them low – whatever their age and fitness.

He said: “I never thought anything like this would ever affect me. You know, I thought I am young fit, healthy, I look after myself and then, to find out that I had Covid was just like ‘what?’

“You always think it is going to be the older people because that is what you hear. To find out it was me, at my age and stuff like that, it just brought it home really.

“I got ill and then it got worse very quickly."

Stuart Core Credit: BPM Media/Plymouth Live

He added he “did not know what was going on” in hospital.

The married father-of-three said: “You are in a room full of people all on breathing apparatus, looking around, thinking ‘Oh my god’ and then I am on breathing apparatus as well, so I looked like these guys, it is scary.

“You think ‘Oh God, I cannot believe I am here. It was horrible, really.”

Stuart started weight-training at school at the suggestion of his rugby coach. He was Junior Mr Britain in 1998 and then Junior Mr Universe in 2000.

Stuart took the senior Mr Britain title in 2004 and his honours continued until 2015.

Ninety-one patients have been discharged from Derriford Hospital over the past month after testing positive for the virus.

Forty-six, or just over half, were aged between 18 and 64.

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