A former mayor has lost two stone in just one month as he raises money for a children’s charity.

Ben Murphy, ex-mayor of Epping Forest, has already collected £3,000 for the Dream Factory, which grants the wishes of severely ill children.

The money raised by Mr Murphy as he aims to complete a challenge to lose five stone between January 1 and August 30 will pay for two families to visit Euro Disney in Paris.

He said: “The results show a great start to the challenge and I remain very focused on my end goal and beyond.

“The past four weeks have been about completely restructuring my lifestyle and changing my attitude and reaction to a whole range of day-to-day scenarios.

“I’ve been completely overwhelmed by the support I’ve received from friends, family and members of the local community.

"Of course there have been slip-ups along the way. I went rogue at a friend’s wedding two weeks ago and ended up drinking a large amount of wine which resulted in me working extra hard to burn off the calories the next day with an atrocious hang-over.”

Avril Mills, Dream Factory founder, said: “I wish to thank everyone who has generously donated as part of Ben’s challenge.

“I can assure you that this money is already helping to make wishes come true for some of the very poorly children we are working with.”

Donations can be made online at http://www.justgiving.com/TheMurf or by ringing the charity on 020 8501 1234.