Zac's Youth Bar boss' aim to complete 50 challenges before 50th birthday

The Bolton News: Stuart Barnes jumps to it during the North West Tough Mudder Challenge Stuart Barnes jumps to it during the North West Tough Mudder Challenge

A DEDICATED fundraiser has completed 13 challenges for charity this year — raising £10,000 in the process.

Stuart Barnes, director of Zac’s Youth Bars, is embarking on 50 challenges over 50 months with the aim of raising £50,000 in time for his 50th birthday in 2016.

All money raised will go towards securing the future of Zac’s Youth Bars, a youth project based in Farnworth, Kearsley and Little Lever.

This year, he has completed the North West Tough Mudder challenge, the National Three Peaks Challenge and the Manchester to Blackpool Bike Ride.

And as if that was not enough, he also climbed the height of Mount Kilimanjiro on a stepping machine and swum the equivalent of the English Channel in a swimming pool.

Mr Barnes, aged 47, started the challenge last October, and is aiming to raise as much money as possible on a budget.

“Most people would probably stop at one challenge, but I’m determined to keep going. It’s vital that I do this.

“Tough Mudder was the biggest challenge — I was next to people in their 20s, and I started thinking ‘what am I doing?’ “But I’m not a quitter and I’m not ready to throw in the towel.”

Zac’s Youth Bars — part of the Sycamore Project — was set up 13 years ago, when Mr Barnes bought a derelict wine bar in Farnworth.

Today, it works with more than 1,200 youngsters in Farnworth, Kearsley and Little Lever.

However, it has not all been plain sailing for Zac’s which has seen its annual income drop by 25 per cent over the last two years.

He added: “It’s great that so many people have donated, because they obviously believe in what we are doing.

“In the current economic climate, we have to work twice as hard for every pound.

“If I don’t raise money for Zac’s, we can’t operate, it’s as simple as that.

“I have to take care of the boring stuff so that the team is focused on helping young people and not worrying about paying bills.”

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