A 30-year-old man who survived two strokes after becoming hugely overweight, has trekked 100 miles across the Sahara for charity.
Ashley Robinson, from Morden, shed three-and-a-half stone to complete a four-day trek and raise more than £10,000 for the Stroke Association.
Mr Robinson, a civil servant, said: "I used to tell people that obesity and bad genes run in my family, but in truth no one runs in my family.
"In February 2013 I weighed more than 27 stone. With two strokes already behind me I knew if I didn’t start to lose weight and transform my lifestyle, there was a high likelihood of another, or developing other serious health problems."
Mr Robinson had his first stroke when he was 25, killing a third of his brain cells. Ten months earlier he had dislocated his knee playing rugby and piled on ten stone.
So after a serious talk with his doctor, he decided to take on the mammoth Sahara challenge to motivate him to get fit, training on the South Downs with a friend.
He said: "I'm still a big guy. I weighed 23-and-a-half stone at the start and my blood level and cholesterol and health were as good as it had been before the stroke.
"So I was feeling more confident but I was still absolutely terrified."
Mr Robinson travelled to Ouarzazate in Morocco with two friends last month for the gruelling four-day trek.
Despite a few moments of self-doubt, he managed to complete the trek and climb the massive Chigaga Dunes against the backdrop of the Anti-Atlas mountains.
He said: "The days were very hot and the trekking was the toughest physical challenge of my life.
"However the rewards of losing weight, raising more than £10,000 for charity and conquering that desert with my friends was worth it."
In London 13,500 people have a stroke every year and around a quarter of all strokes happen to people under the age of 65.
To find out more visit www.stroke.org.uk.