Freestyle footballer John Farnworth will be crossing the Sahara Desert, juggling a football with every step, in an attempt to set his most ambitious record yet.
The keepy-up king is undertaking the mammoth challenge to raise money for Derian House Children’s Hospice in Chorley, Lancashire.
The amazing feat will see children’s TV personality John, travelling 100km (more than 60 miles) over some of the world’s highest sand dunes, in searing 40-degree heat. And all while keeping a ball in the air.
At night he will be cooking his food in the wilderness, and sleeping under Africa’s star-strewn skies in temperatures below freezing point.
If successful, it will be his 10th Guinness World Record. He has previously kept a football in the air for the entire route of the London Marathon and in 2018 even battled blizzard conditions on treacherous Mount Everest as he did keepy-ups on the side of the world’s highest mountain.
Lancashire-born John has dazzled crowds around the globe with his amazing ball control skills and transformed the freestyle football world with his epic challenges.
But when he visited Derian House Children’s Hospice last year, he knew he had to use his fancy footwork to help the worthy cause.
He said: “Derian is an amazing place. When I came to visit and found out how much money needs to be raised every year to keep the services running, I just knew I had to help. The best way for me to contribute is through freestyle, it’s what I do.”
John is already hard at work training, with tough gym sessions every day and trips to the beach at Lytham, Lancashire, to get ready for travelling on sand.
He said: “It’s going to be very tough, but I always like to push my own personal limits and push the barriers in freestyle – that’s just the way I live. I don’t like to do anything that has
been done before.”
John hopes the epic Challenge Sahara, which will take place in March, will help inspire others.
He said: “I don’t mind that to the average person this seems bonkers. Freestyle has taught me so much about learning and with the right training and dedication I’m confident I can complete this challenge. I want to show people what is possible with the right attitude to aim up above their current capabilities.”
David Robinson, Chief Executive of Derian House Children’s Hospice, said: “When we first found out about John’s challenge we thought, quite frankly, it was impossible! But after seeing what John is capable of we have every faith in him. We can’t wait to follow his progress on the journey and thank him for choosing to support our work at Derian House. His efforts will make a real difference to the lives of our children and young people.”
Derian House offers respite and end-of-life care to more than 350 families across Lancashire and South Cumbria. The charity needs to raise £4million every year to continue supporting its families.
To sponsor John in Challenge Sahara, visit his Just Giving page
To see John’s training progress, visit Facebook: @footballgenius Instagram: @john.farnworth