WEIGHING in at 20st, Lindsey Cooper had problems getting on a bike, never mind riding one.

However, the 45-year-old set out on a mission to shed the pounds, and now, 13 months on and 8st 7lb lighter, Lindsey is taking part in a gruelling 250-mile charity bike ride across Cuba, above.

The mum-of-three, who has halved her dress size from 24 to 12, said: “I was so concerned with my own health.

“I knew that I needed to lose a lot of weight, but I’d tried slimming clubs before and they hadn’t worked.

“I used to lie in bed and hope a ‘fat fairy’ would wave her magic wand and make me slim.”

In September last year, nail technician Lindsey started a low carbohydrate, high protein diet – and started to change her life forever.

“I stuck to the diet and to my delight by March I had lost about 6st,” she said.

“Losing the weight really gave me focus and drive to carry on and realise what was really possible.

“I heard about the ride and it sounded like the perfect thing to plough my energy into.”

Lindsey started training, going to two swimming classes a week at her local recreation centre.

Now she does nine sessions a week and recently took part in a 100km cycle ride around the New Forest.

Through a series of fundraising events, Lindsey has raised more than £3,000 for Women for Women, which helps female survivors of war.

She will now join 70 other women, including This Morning presenter Fern Britton, for the five-day ride, setting off across Cuba on November 13.

“I’ve always dreamed of doing something like this but never thought it would actually be possible,” said Lindsey, of Stopples Lane, Hordle.

“Now I can’t wait to start packing my bags. I’ve never done anything like it before and I just can’t wait to get going.”