A YOUNG father diagnosed with a life-changing illness suffered "excruciating" pain before launching his own gym gear firm

James Buckle fought to "get his life back" on track after receiving the news he had inflammatory bowel syndrome.

The 31-year-old previously enjoyed life working as a busy account manager and going to the gym several times a week.

However, James from Hedge End, began to feel unwell in late 2018, displaying symptoms including "significant blood and weight loss" and an upset stomach. 

He said: “I remember going to work meetings and just being in excruciating pain, it was painful, but I just managed it because I had to work and feed my family”

After being urged by his partner, Stephanie, James went to hospital to seek medical help.

Daily Echo: James Buckle at the hospital.James Buckle at the hospital.

He was taken to an isolation ward and put through various examinations and biopsies to determine what was wrong with him.

He was discharged seven days later, while under steroid treatment, feeling incredibly weak.

According to James, this was when he felt most lonely and as though his life would never be the same.

He said: “There came a moment where I thought, this is it, I went from being a healthy person going to the gym six times a week, to being at home feeling incredibly weak and looking like a bag of bones.

“I just thought this is it now, my life has changed forever and thought I’m not going back to having the strength I had before.”

It was at home that James began to look at gym wear without any intention of ever starting his own business.

“I started playing around with designs for t-shirts., just looking at logos and different colours and styles and looking at suppliers, I guess looking back I was just bored,” he said.

James began to build a social media presence to promote his business, Savage Gym Wear UK, selling kit from his home in Hedge End.

In February 2022, James met Dragon’s Den Star, Theo Paphitis, after winning the entrepreneurs’ Small Business Sunday shoutout.

James who is dad to Olivia, Harrison, Jakob and Joshua, added: “The last three years have taught me that mindset is everything, how you perceive things and what you do can change your life.

“I was that person that had my condition against me, but I didn’t just give up, I pushed harder and change my mindset. It’s not easy and it doesn’t take two or three weeks, it took nine months of solid training and a good diet to change my life.”

A message from the Editor

Thank you for reading this article - we appreciate your support in reading the Daily Echo.

Subscribing to the Echo means you have unrestricted access to the latest news, features and Saints coverage - all with an advertising-light website.

You will also have full access to Saintsplus, your new home for Southampton FC tactical analysis, features and much, much more.

Don't take my word for it - subscribe here to see for yourself.

Follow the latest breaking news in the Southampton area by joining our Facebook group - Southampton News - Breaking News and Incidents

Follow the latest court and crime news on our dedicated Facebook group - Hampshire Court and Crime News