A FLINTSHIRE man who went from homelessness to within a vote away from being elected as a county councillor has spoken about his journey. 

Daniel Thomas, from Holywell, "hit rock bottom" just a matter of years ago - finding himself without a home and doing jail time. 

But now, the 37-year-old has his own Personal Trainer (PT) business and is a local councillor on Holywell Town Council. In the recent local elections, he missed out on being elected as county councillor by just one vote. 

And the dad-of-five, who has spoken candidly about his experiences, hopes to inspire other people who are battling personal problems that they can overcome them. 

"I had my own house and a full-time job at the age of 19," he said. 

"But I witnessed a horrific machete attack on my mate, and, unbeknown to me at the time, I suffered PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) as a result of it. My life began to spiral from there."

Daniel said he started drinking excessively, and wasted the money he had after selling his house. 

"I lost my job, and I had severe anger issues - and the drink only fuelled them," he said.

"I just went off the rails."

Soon, Daniel was homeless. 

"I was at rock bottom," he said.

"Day by day, sofa surfing, sleeping rough - never knowing when my next meal was. I even had to go through bins, scrounging off people and even stole food from shops.

"I suffered a broken neck in a car crash - luckily I wasn’t paralysed from the neck down."The Leader: Daniel pictured after he suffered a broken neck whilst he was homeless. Daniel pictured after he suffered a broken neck whilst he was homeless.

Daniel also spent time in prison - something he said played a part in him eventually turning his life around.

"Prison gave me a structure to my life," he said.

"There were opportunities to learn and get some education. And I didn't have to worry about finding meals."

But the real catalyst for Daniel's life being transformed was when his son, Albie-Junior, was forced to have his leg amputated. 

"When he was born, I still wasn't on the right tracks," he said. 

Albie-Junior had the lower half of his left leg amputated due to fibular hemimelia - a condition he was born with which prevents the lower legs or feet from developing properly.

"After Albie-Junior's amputation, I told him I'd do all in my power for him to one day become a Paralympian.

"Straightaway I re-trained as a PT and set up my own business."

The Leader: Daniel with local celebrity, Paddy Doherty. Daniel with local celebrity, Paddy Doherty.

Now, not only is Daniel's PT business flourishing, he has set up a running club and a park run in Holywell.

"For me, running has changed my life," he said. 

"If I had running when I was growing up, I wouldn't have slipped down the path.

"A lot of the people I train have personal issues they're battling, and running has made a massive impact on their lives."

The Leader:

Daniel, who was also recently diagnosed with dyslexia and ADHD, hopes to help children with behavioural problems and learning difficulties through running.

"I'm talking to Holywell High School about taking some of their more difficult pupils up in the hills to go running," he said.

"The school is really on board with it. 

"I just want to help people. I've been to some of the lowest places you can imagine, and I want to use my experiences in a positive and meaningful way."

The Leader: Daniel and family. Daniel and family.

Daniel now has his eyes set on becoming a Member of Parliament. 

"I'm planning to stand as a local MP in the next election," he said.

"I think coming from where I have, I have closer grasp of certain issues than some MPs do. 

"I'm hoping people would back someone who's lived the sort of life I have, than someone who's out of touch with the reality lived by so many people every day."

The Leader:

Daniel is now preparing to climb Ben Nevis - Britain's tallest mountain - with Albie-Junior. Doing so would make five-year-old Albie-Junior the youngest person to climb it. 

Last year, Albie-Junior became the youngest person ever to climb Snowdon.

READ MORE: Inspirational Holywell boy Albie-Junior tells Prince Charles: 'I'm a future Paralympian'

"I like to think that Albie-Junior has inherited my 'never say die' attitude," Daniel said. 

The Leader: Albie-Junior and dad, Daniel, at the summit of Snowdon.Albie-Junior and dad, Daniel, at the summit of Snowdon.

He added: "For people who in the place I was once - just keep trying to take one step forward at a time. It's about small steps, and if you take a couple back - that's fine. 

"But keep picking yourself up and going again. You will get there if you keep trying to move forward."