FOOTBALL legend John Barnes is backing a teenager’s bid to become the youngest person ever to complete the gruelling National Three Peaks Challenge on their own.

The former England and Liverpool star has donated £50 to 16-year-old Alex Staniforth, who will attempt to scale the UK’s three highest mountains – Ben Nevis, Snowdon and Scafell Pike – in just 24 hours on July 5.

Alex, who lives in Kelsall, met Barnes at the recent star-studded party at Peckforton Castle, who are sponsoring him, to celebrate the owners’ fifth year in charge.

He said: “I had brought a form with me and while smiling with my new T-shirts on, I approached him and told him what I was doing and asked if he would sponsor me.

“He was a very friendly chap and I told him about my challenge and how I wanted to raise a lot of money for my two charities.

“He very, very kindly gave me a £50 note straight away after signing my form – fantastic! He wished me luck and asked for an update.”

The Tarporley High School pupil is aiming to raise £1,000 to be split between Red Endangered Animal Connection Trust (REACT) – which protects animals such as orangutans, bears and elephants – and Breakthrough Breast Cancer.

Alex, who is a budding wildlife photographer and nature enthusiast, is aiming to complete Ben Nevis in 5 hours 30 minutes, and both Scafell Pike and Snowdon in 3 hours 30 minutes.

The challenge will involve 10 hours on the road, which is included in the time, with his step dad taking him on the 900-mile journey in his nine seater minibus.

Alex is being sponsored by Tarvin Cars, FocusSB, based in Sussex, and Peckforton Castle.

If you would like to donate to the charity visit

Gary Porter