Fund-raiser going backwards to help Macmillan move forward - The Leamington Observer

Fund-raiser going backwards to help Macmillan move forward

A FUNDRAISER is set to start an epic journey in aid of Macmillan – by walking 100 miles backwards.

Warwick father of four Stuart Kettell will start from Braunston Marina in Northampton and over the following ten days will follow the Grand Union Canal to the centre of London.

He will be waved off tomorrow by family, friends and Coventry-born music producer Pete Waterman.

Passing through Buckinghamshire, Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire before he reaches the capital, Stuart will be joined by 85-year-old boatman Norman Wooley.

Stuart is no stranger to fund-raising for Macmillan and during the past 14 years he has completed an annual wacky challenge – including being suspended in the air by helium balloons for seven days, pushing a Brussel sprout up Snowden with his nose, popping 10,000 balloons on a pogo stick and cycling from John O’ Groats to Lands’ End in a pedal powered bathtub

To date, Stuart is close to raising £60,000 for Macmillan and his latest challenge to walk backwards for 100 miles is no easy feat. After training and covering just three miles, he struggled to walk up the stairs afterwards.

Stuart said: “You’re using muscles that you don’t usually use, and the body isn’t used to walking backwards.”

Braunston Marina have sponsored the event and supplied Stuart an escort on his journey in the shape of a 60-foot-long narrowboat where he can sleep. The boat is captained by Norman, who was the last boatman to pull a horse drawn canal boat from London to Birmingham in 1996.

Stuart said: “Norman is an integral part of this challenge. He knows the route like the back of his hand and he himself has a huge challenge – he will have to navigate 102 locks on the journey. There are several repairs to the canal going on along the way as well which we will have to plan for.”

Ellen Finn, fund-raising manager for Macmillan, added, “Almost of all of Macmillan’s income is generated by fund-raising activity and the demand on Macmillan’s services has never been greater. Every step that Stuart takes, and every lock Norman passes, raises money for Macmillan helps us to do whatever it takes to support people living with cancer within the West Midlands. We couldn’t be prouder of Stuart and Norman for what they are doing to support us.”

During the challenge, like every other, Stuart will have his hair dyed green and will be kitted out with specially made shoes that face backwards. He will complete his outfit with a flashing warning beacon on his head and a loudspeaker which announces he is reversing.

Stuart started fund-raising for Macmillan in 2007 with his first challenge being a flight around the UK coast, fresh out of training, in his flex wing microlight. He was determined to fund-raise after doing some filming work for the charity and wanting to help and make a difference.

People can track Stuart’s progress and donate at



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