A MAN who was out of work and homeless has told how he transformed his life after landing a job as a bingo caller.

Gary Paterson’s life was at a low ebb after a relationship breakdown and a struggle to find employment.

He was living with his grandmother and his health was also suffering as he had become grossly overweight.

Ten years on, he is now happily married, is half the man he used to be and at the top of his game in his new career.

Gary, 45, who lives in the Bow Road area with wife Liz, is celebrating 10 years in the bingo business and has gained top national awards along the way.

It is a far cry from the desperate position he once found himself in. 

He said: “I was in a relationship that broke down and ended up living with my grandmother.

“I’m a printer to trade but no-one needs printers these days.

“I had worked part-time in the bingo when I was a student in 1993 so I rang up Mecca and it happened to be the same manager I worked with when I was a student.

“I asked for a job and they told me to start on Monday.”

It was to prove a life-changing moment for Gary, who initially worked as a cash line caller.

As his confidence soared he quickly had his eye on being the main man.

Gary said: “The job helped me learn to interact with people.

“It really brought me out of my shell.”

While working in the bingo hall his personal life also turned in the right direction.

He fell in love with Liz, who was one of his customers, and they hit it off straight away.

The couple got engaged within a year and tied the knot in Cyprus in 2010.

Gary said: “We just clicked.

“I just knew she was the girl for me.”

When he met Liz, who works in the Port Glasgow Tesco store, Gary still weighed in at just under 20 stones.

But he had started to tackle the problems that caused him to pile on the weight — and soon made progress.

He said: “I had real problems with my breathing — I was even breathless trying to tie my shoelaces.

“My GP explained that it was because I was obese and the weight was compressing down on my lungs.

“He warned me that I could become diabetic and that I had to lose weight.

“I just broke down and said ‘I can’t go on like this’.”

Gary says he did a lot of research into compulsive eating and realised it was linked to his emotions and issues that he had never properly faced up to.

He then sought the help he needed from outside agencies.

Gary said: “I’ve had to re-programme my thinking about food.”

The Greenock man now sticks to a strict regime of three meals a day and does not eat after 6pm.

His staggering weightloss has seen him go from 19 and a half stones to a trim 11st 4.

Gary said: “It’s great — I had a 46-inch waist and now it’s 32 so I can buy nice clothes.

“It’s transformed my life, my self-esteem and confidence.”

After a two-year stint at the Mecca in Springfield Quay, Gary enjoyed three years working in his home town hall and for the last five years he has been the toast of the branch in Drumchapel, where he is marking a decade in the business with a 10th birthday bash on Saturday.

Gary has been named bingo caller of the year in Scotland and was runner-up in the British Championships, where friends and family donned t-shirts to cheer him on.

He has also been named a customer service champion for the last two years and takes huge pride in his position, saying that a lot of his customers have become firm friends.

Gary said: “It’s like a performance. You make people laugh and when I see people enjoy themselves I get enjoyment out of it. It’s a good atmosphere.

“That’s my job — to create a good atmosphere.”

Gary and Liz, who have five children between them, say their happiness has been made complete with the arrival of their first grandson.

Gary said: “I would say to people who have been in the same situation as me not to give up hope.

“It’s all about hope and the decisions you make.”