A barber who hit "rock bottom" despite surviving a violent attack by his ex-partner has been honoured for the way in which he has turned his life around.

On October 5 2014, Kris Clarke, now 49, had a champagne bottle smashed over his head while he was sleeping.

It almost killed him. Neighbours heard the noise and ran to his rescue. Kris describes it as a "miracle" that they got to him.

He was taken to Watford General Hospital, going into cardiac arrest on the way there, but doctors were able to save his life.

But the trauma of the attack was too much for Kris whose mental health began rapidly declining - in December 2015, he was sectioned under the mental health act.

He became an alcoholic and his weight increased to 19 stone. Although his partner of nine years was jailed for section 18 GBH, Kris' struggles continued - he even considered ending his own life.

He said: "I hit rock bottom. I couldn't trust anyone. I had a battle with depression, anxiety, and panic disorder but shortly after the trial I walked into my bathroom, looked into the mirror, and saw the reflection of an overweight alcoholic.

"But it was while looking in the mirror that I realised that doctors had given me a second chance at life and I was not going to waste it. I stood at a crossroads. Do I lose my life and drink myself to death - or do I become a fighter?"

Kris, originally from North Wales but moved to Watford in 2002, met an "expert" who put him on a diet plan. He lost half his weight in six months but this was not helping Kris who was fragile at the time.

Kris, who works as a barber at Headhunters in St Albans Road, was advised instead to check out a gym by a customer. But due to his mental health state, his local gym could not take him on so he tried Fitness4Less in the town centre.

Kris said: "So many friendly faces greeted me. Then a man called Steve Barson walked in. He would become my personal trainer. My doctor gave me the all clear to join and then my new journey began.

"Steve gave me a new lease of life. It hasn't always been plain sailing and the first year was really difficult. Steve helped me to control my panic attacks and make me stronger. Before meeting Steve, I was ashamed of myself. It took two years of training to get me on the right path but I have been able to turn my life around."

As a result of his journey, Kris has been crowned Fitness4Less' nationwide member of the year for 2019.

Following his award, he said: "It made me feel so humble. I was completely shocked. I owe my life to Steve."

Kris has also been using his experience to inspire and help others. He is involved with CALM, a campaign against male suicide while he also volunteers with Beacon Victim Care, an organisation that supported Kris in his recovery.