A father is planning to walk from Norwich to Fakenham and canoe back along the river, all within 24 hours this weekend, to raise money for a cystic fibrosis charity.

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Jonathan Hill will be leading a group of seven friends in the intrepid challenge, and will be joined for the canoing leg of the journey by his wife Teresa and son Luke, 27, who has cystic fibrosis.

Last year the 55-year-old and his friends swam, with the help of rubber rings, 30 miles along the River Wensum to do their bit to help the Cystic Fibrosis Trust fund a pioneering gene therapy trial.

This year, they have decided to make the challenge even harder, by walking 27 miles from Norwich to Fakenham, starting at midnight on Friday, and then canoeing back the same distance along the river.

Mr Hill, a self-employed electrician from East Carleton, near Mulbarton, said: “It’s going to be a challenge, particularly the canoeing as going a short distance is fine, but going a long way is really hard work.

“We spent the past few weeks practising on the river and making sure certain sections were clear enough for us to get through, as it can get blocked by trees.

“I’m supporting the trial so hopefully we can get a cure for my son and for all the other people who also have cystic fibrosis.”

Cystic fibrosis affects the internal organs, especially the lungs and digestive system, by clogging them with thick sticky mucus. This makes it hard to breathe and digest food.

The multi-dose clinical trial for cystic fibrosis gene therapy is a crucial stage in what has been 10 years of development and follows successful tests on safety and toxicity over the last two years.

To donate to the appeal, call 0300 373 1040, log on to www.justgiving.com/cft or send a donation in the post to Cystic Fibrosis Trust, 11 London Road, Bromley BR1 1BY, making cheques payable to the Cystic Fibrosis Trust.

Do you have a story about a health condition? Contact reporter Kim Briscoe on 01603 772419 or email kim.briscoe@archant.co.uk

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