A GRANDFATHER is about to undertake a challenge that is anything but plain sailing – pulling his 12-ton canal boat for 10 miles in just 12 hours.

John Hickson, originally from Flixton but now living in Timperley, will attempt to single-handedly pull his 45ft narrowboat ‘Jus’ Chillin’ from Lymm to Stretford along the Bridgewater Canal.

The 58-year-old is embarking on the challenge to raise funds for Diabetes UK and The Christie, setting himself a target of £10,000.

John has personal experience of the work both charities do. He himself has been an insulin dependent diabetic since the age of seven and his friend, Rusty Fearnley, who will be steering the narrowboat, is currently battling leukaemia.

John will begin the boat pull at Lymm Cruising Club on the morning of Saturday August 6 and drag the boat with a rope along the canal path to Stretford Watch House Cruising Club, where he is a member.

“It’s never been done before – this distance,” said John. “Last year someone did one-and-a-half miles but this is very different.

“It’s not going to be easy – I’ll be going at about one mile an hour. But I have said it and that’s it, I’m going to do it.”

John hasn’t had the time to train for the event as he has been so busy trying to get sponsorship.

However, he has not had much luck as many businesses are already committed to chosen charities.

Any business that would like to support John, who can offer banner or sign space on the boat, contact him on 07999551182.

To make a donation visit justgiving.com/fundraising/john-hickson or text BOPU58 to 70070.