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Kayaking Chester lecturer raising cash for heroes

A lecturer from the University of Chester who is attempting to kayak the length of the Mississippi River has reached New Orleans.

Wayne O’Brien is now well into his 2,500 mile mission as he raises cash for the Help for Heroes charity.

O’Brien, who lectures in TV production, is no stranger to feats of endurance, however. In 2009, he cycled the US from coast to coast.

Having trained on the River Dee closer to home though, he is taking his experience of kayaking in Cheshire onto a new level.

He started on June 21 at the source of the river, Lake Itasca in Minnesota. Now he is at New Orleans, meaning the finishing line in Louisiana is closer than it ever has been.

It has not been an easy trip for the senior lecturer though. Blogging his experiences, it is clear that finding fresh water and coping with the heat is becoming a struggle.

It is not just on the water that he is facing issues. Writing earlier last week about his attempts to find a town for supplies, O’Brien said:

“I climbed over a fence into a field full of cows. As I crossed the field they all ran at me.”

He went on to say that far from making a dignified escape, he quickly ran in the opposite direction. He compared the encounter to some sort of bovine Benny Hill sketch, as he continued:

“I hummed the tune as I was being chased.”

By the end of his mammoth paddle, O’Brien hopes his efforts will bring in at least £5,000 for the charity.