Meet the cabbie who quit smoking, lost seven stone and is swimming a mile for charity

IT was just over a year ago 23-stone taxi driver Simon Smith was smoking 40 a day and eating takeaway kebabs.

Now, seven-and-a-half stone lighter and swimming a mile a day Mr Smith is taking part in the Great East Swim to raise money for charity.

Motivated to get fit after watching some of his closest friends pass away, including Babs Cox who died of cancer in 2010, Mr Smith, 48, started eating properly, quit smoking and now walks every day.

“I had a really unhealthy cabbie lifestyle. Seeing my close friend pass away had a profound effect on me and I decided to shake up my life and change it,” he said.

“Getting into swimming was part of that.”

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Mr Smith, of March, will do the mile swim on June 16 at Alton Water Reserve to raise money for Macmillan Cancer Support.

“Open water swimming is so different to pool swimming - you have to deal with the cold and the wind. It’s a whole new challenge,” he said.

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Mr Smith has been training whichever puddles he can find space to swing his arms in and is ready for the swim.

To boost the money he can raise for charity, on Friday, June 8, he will start his shift at Dart Taxis in March and all the money he earns that night will go to charity - but not before it has been matched pound for pound by the boss at Dart Taxis.

He will complete the shift in a swimming hat, Macmillan t-shirt and arm bands.

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