Iconic eighties music mogul Pete Waterman backs dad's 100 mile epic Macmillan fundraising journey from Braunston Marina

Stuart on his epic run.Stuart on his epic run.
Stuart on his epic run.
Iconic eighties music legend Pete Waterman is backing a dad's epic fundraising challenge from Braunston Marina.

Pete will join Stuart Kettell at the marina when he sets off for his 100 mile walk to raise money for Macmillan Cancer Support next Wednesday.

But there's a twist to the challenge as Stuart will walk backwards for the entire journey.

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Pete said he was happy to support the fundraising efforts as he is aware of the vital work provided my Macmillan.

Tim Coghlan, of Braunston Marina, with Peter Waterman.Tim Coghlan, of Braunston Marina, with Peter Waterman.
Tim Coghlan, of Braunston Marina, with Peter Waterman.

Stuart, a father of four, has staged a challenge for Macmillan for the past 14 years. He is close to raising £60,000 for the charity.

After filming patient case studies for Macmillan, Stuart drove home wanting to help and make a difference, his first challenge was a flight around the UK coast, fresh out of training in his flex wing microlight.

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.

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Stuart, who lives in Warwick, said: "None of my challenges are normal; I get to invent my own challenges every year and have completed 15 challenges now.

Stuart on a previous stunt to raise money - in a glass box.Stuart on a previous stunt to raise money - in a glass box.
Stuart on a previous stunt to raise money - in a glass box.

"I start walking at Braunston Marina on July 7 and finish at Macmillan's head office on July 16. I will also have a live tracker on the website at www.willthemadfoolmakeit.co.uk so people can see how I'm doing."

Like all of his challenges, Stuart will have his hair dyed green and will be totally kitted out with specially made shoes that actually face backwards.

He said: "People will see me coming as I have a flashing warning beacon on my head and even a loud speaker which say 'warning, warning this person is reversing'!"

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Braunston Marina have kindly agreed to sponsor the event and have supplied Stuart an escort on his journey in the shape of a 60-foot-long narrowboat, where he can sleep for the night.

He will walk on the canal towpath all the way down the Grand Union Canal at the same speed as the boat.

The boat is captained by 85-year-old Norman Woolley, 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 is 85 and 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.”

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Tim Coghlan, director of Braunston Marina, said: "Stuart will set off from the Braunston Marina entrance at 9am on a gruelling 100 mile walk backwards to Brentford on the Thame – the entire length of the original Grand Junction Canal. He can only do ten miles a day – so it will be over 10 days. He will be accompanied by narrowboat Bruin, owned by Norman Woolley, who will look after Stuart en route.

"Braunston Marina will present a cheque to him for Macmillan of £1,000 before he sets off. We have also helped with the walk arrangements."

To track Stuart's efforts or make a donation, visit www.willthemadfoolmakeit.co.uk.

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