Sisters inspire Aaron to turn on style
Having been the first winner of TV's Biggest Loser, Aaron Howlett shed almost 10st and went on to run a number of marathons. And on Saturday, the 36-year-old from east Hull set out on his latest challenge – an epic 56-day walk to raise funds for charity.
Setting off from East Park, he and fellow fundraisers will walk up to Scotland to John O'Groats, around the UK to Land's End and back to Hull.
"I gave up my other job at a health and fitness centre to dedicate my time to setting up the walk," said Aaron, who is a weight-loss mentor working on Jeremy Kyle's ITV show.
"It's really been a labour of love for me and I like the fact that's it's a bit out of my comfort zone.
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"There was a point when I thought it wouldn't happen and it has been in the planning stages for a few years.
"Now it is here and I just can't believe it."
Suggs from Madness and TV host Jeremy Kyle will be among the famous faces walkers will meet along the route.
Cash For Kids, the Cystic Fibrosis Trust and The Soldiers' Charity will benefit from the money raised as Aaron walks around Britain with a team of supporters.
"We will be visiting every town and city," said Aaron, who has secured £25,000 in sponsorship from Bartercard, a barter trading exchange based in Slough, which will help to run a national media campaign for the event.
"The walk is going to have a massive impact on people's lives. I wanted to do something big to make a difference and include my home town."
For someone who dedicates his life to helping others – whether that be through charity fundraising or getting people in shape – Aaron doesn't spend a lot of time on himself.
His sister, Lisa Howlett, thought a makeover would be the perfect treat for him.
"Aaron is such an inspirational uncle to my children and my sister's children," said Lisa, who nominated him on behalf of their sister Jamie, too.
"Aaron helps out so much with my family, as my partner works long shifts, and Jamie's partner is currently on tour with the Army.
"He is also a massive fundraiser with charities. He has run nine marathons and is currently doing The Great Walk, which he organised.
"I know that a makeover would give him the chance to meet a woman so he can one day be a father."
Aaron went along to Outfit, Kingston Retail Park, Hull, to pick out some new clothes, before heading to Colour Lounge, Carr Lane, Hull, to have his hair done.
For more information about the fundraiser and how you can get involved, visit www.the-great-walk.com A route map is available for those who wish to participate – e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 07779 609911.
Meghan Simm, creative stylist at Colour Lounge, said: "When Aaron arrived at the salon, he told me he'd had his hair cut a few weeks before, so there wasn't a lot of work needed.
"I decided to tidy the sides and the back. I neatened up his style and chipped into the top to create more texture.
"I styled Aaron's hair using Kérastase Moulding Clay."
Jo Noble, personal shopper at Outfit, Hull, said: "The work Aaron is doing for his three charities is fantastic and we had a great time selecting an outfit for him to relax in.
"The printed T-shirt from our Burton concession is really on-trend and, teamed with a pair of jeans, made Aaron look great.
"The straw hat he has is great for the hot weather at the moment or to take as a holiday accessory. He could even perhaps use it on his walks."
"I was like a fish out of water shopping for clothes," said Aaron. Usually I avoid shopping as I can't be bothered trying clothes on. If I buy something, I take it home, try it on and get one of my sisters to take it back if it doesn't fit.
"I was really touched that Lisa and Jamie nominated me for a makeover. I was quite taken aback as I didn't think they would do something like this for me.
"I've been very stressed out organising the walk, so a day out to myself was needed. The Great Walk has been 19 months in the planning. It was supposed to go ahead last year but didn't come off, which was a nightmare. I've been putting in long hours to make sure it all runs smoothly.
"I'm no Gok Wan, so when it came to choosing new clothes, I didn't have a clue what to do. Jo at Outfit was brilliant and explained the way things fit, and trends. She also encouraged me to experiment with colours, too, which is handy advice for the future.
"I don't have much hair left but the stylist at Colour Lounge was great. We had a good laugh at the salon.
"I've been training really hard for The Great Walk and the makeover was a great way to take some time out."
Printed T-shirt, £16, from Burton.
Clothing from Outfit, Kingston Retail Park, Hull. Call 01482 320390 or visit www.outfitfashion.com
Hair by Colour Lounge in Carr Lane, Hull. Call 01482 227755.