AN electrician is preparing to take to the water armed with just a canoe in a bid to raise funds for a charity close to his heart.
Steven Harris plans to canoe 180 miles along the entire River Trent next year to raise funds for Rakemark Respite, a holiday club for children with special needs and disabilities.
The 32-year-old is hoping to do the challenge in June next year and will be checking water levels between May and June to find the best time to complete his quest.
He decided to raise money for the charity after growing up with a sister with learning difficulties and seeing how a club like this can help a family.
Mr Harris told The Advertiser: “It is described as the UK’s toughest canoe challenge which always helps when it comes to fund-raising for a local charity.
“As far as doing it for Rakemark Respite, my sister has got learning difficulties. She is now 34 and throughout her childhood my parents always looked after her.
“It was not until she was 24 that my parents got any external help in looking after her. Rakemark provides that help for parents from an early age. Some respite help is something my parents longed for during the first 24 years of my sister’s life.”
The sportsman, who lives in Tixall near Stafford, is no stranger to the canoe and is hoping to raise £1,000 for the charity.
Mr Harris added: “Canoeing is something that I have done before and enjoyed. I live very close to the Trent so always see it. It is also the longest river in the UK and the only which runs north. I decided I would just take it on and go for it.
“I have always been involved in team sport as I do play for Uttoxeter football and rugby clubs and I have been successful as part of a team. But I would like to do something by myself.
“I have been keeping my target quiet but I would love to raise £1,000. If I set myself a target I do normally reach it.
“I do have a support team helping me along the way as it will be an eight-day trek which is my father who is ex-military and organising all of the stopovers.”
Anyone wanted to sponsor Mr Harris to help him reach his target are asked to visit www.justgiving.com/Stevendharris