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Harpenden man partners with famous retired footballer in fundraising kayak challenge

PUBLISHED: 14:55 02 April 2019 | UPDATED: 10:10 08 April 2019

David Horton with retired Chelsea and West Ham player Joe Cole. They are kayaking the English Channel together. Picture: David Horton

David Horton with retired Chelsea and West Ham player Joe Cole. They are kayaking the English Channel together. Picture: David Horton

Archant

A Harpenden dad is teaming up with a famous professional footballer to raise money for his disabled son.

Will Horton, with his mum Rebecca. Picture: David HortonWill Horton, with his mum Rebecca. Picture: David Horton

Skiing instructor David Horton has partnered up with retired Chelsea and West Ham player Joe Cole to kayak the English Channel this May.

They are hoping to raise at least £20,000 through charity Tree of Hope for David’s son Will, who has a severe form of cerebral palsy called spastic quadriplegi.

Since his diagnosis at 18 months old Will has struggled to control the muscles in his trunk and limbs and finds walking unaided a real challenge.

The 10-year-old has had numerous procedures at Great Ormond Street Hospital and needs 24-hour support.

Will Horton, with his mum Rebecca. Picture: David HortonWill Horton, with his mum Rebecca. Picture: David Horton

Money from the 20 mile Kayak Channel Challenge will go towards Will’s ongoing treatment and equipment, including an electric wheelchair and post-surgery therapy.

Joe is also fundraising for a charity based in Beckton called the Richard House Children’s Hospice.

David said: “I can’t wait to get going, we are both for doing it as soon as we can. I capsized last week and it was very refreshing, very cold.”

Joe and David met through mutual friends last year and became close when David tutored him in skiing lessons at The Snow Centre in Hemel Hempstead.

They have been training in Hastings multiple times a week since the New Year, building up their endurance kayaking.

“Considering what he has done in his career, he [Joe] is very easy going, he is a great guy and obviously really tuned in to kids and their development and giving them the best opportunities,” David said.

Adding: “Will has to struggle from the moment he wakes up in the morning. He regularly has therapy and undergoes procedures that are painful and frightening for him.

“But he approaches life with an infectious spirit. He is brave. He never, ever complains, and is our hero.”

Last year, David appealed in the Herts Ad for money towards a Quest 88’s RaceRunner bike for Will. This is a modified cycle which Will pushes along the ground with his feet.

To donate, visit www.justgiving.com/fundraising/david-horton7

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