A FORMER squash champion who lost quarter of his body weight for a vital operation is about to go under the knife.
Bill Goldsmith, of Cinderford Close, Boldon Colliery, will have an operation to replace his right hip at Sunderland Royal Hospital on Monday.
The 58-year-old was featured in the Gazette last month after he lost five stone in just 20 weeks, reducing his body weight from 19st 2lb to just over 14st.
The grandad-of-two said: “I knew that I had to lose weight for the operation to avoid breathing difficulties and other complications, and it’s great that I am now in a position to go through with it.
“You’re always a bit nervous before a big operation, but it’s essential, and I am looking forward to getting it done.”
Mr Goldsmith found himself overweight due to unusual circumstances.
In his 20s and 30s, he was captain of the county squash team in Northumberland.
But his sporting career was cut short when he developed Perthes’ disease, a condition where the top of the thigh bone softens and breaks down, and was forced to have both of his hips replaced at the age of 34.
He explained: “My hips were worn out at that time, and I lost all of my fitness.
“I went from being one of the fittest people in the North East to being virtually crippled.”
Mr Goldsmith was also forced to take early retirement from his senior management job at the former Whitburn Colliery, at the age of 39.
Unhappy with piling on the pounds, he joined Weight Watchers at Boldon Village Hall, in North Road, Boldon Colliery in August last year.
He instantly impressed staff as he lost between three and four pounds each week by following a healthy eating plan.
Despite reaching his weight-loss target, Mr Goldsmith, who is a father-of-two, has continued to attend the Weight Watchers’ sessions.
He added: “Since the Gazette story, I have lost another 5lb. I want to stay healthy, and I am not going to rest on my laurels.”
Monday’s operation will see Mr Goldsmith’s right hip replaced.
He will undergo a second operation later this year to replace his left hip.
“My hips need replacing again,” he added. “
It will take a bit of time to recover from each operation. I’ll be using a zimmer frame, and then crutches and a walking stick, before I am fully recovered.”