A LITTLE Sutton man is about to embark on the biggest physical challenge of his life.
John Dodd, 47, is flying out to the Sahara Desert in Morocco to take part in the Marathon des Sables in temperatures exceeding a sweltering 120 degrees F.
The race covers more than 150 miles under extreme conditions in less than a week.
John, a father of two who works at the Vauxhall plant, will be raising money for Claire House Children's Hospice.
John said: 'Everyone has been really helpful, particularly my wife, Diane, as well as my workmates.
'I have been training very hard, every day for the past nine months. This includes running about 13 miles a day wearing a loaded backpack, so I am confident I can complete the event.'
John has raised £2,500 to compete in the event. As well as donations from Vauxhall, he sold one of his beloved motorbikes to fund the venture.
John will be departing from Gatwick alongside 200 other British contestants who will compete in the 1,000-strong event.
Given the huge amount of time, money, physical and mental effort John has already undertaken, he has decided to organise a charity night a couple of weeks after the event to push the funds for Claire House even further.
And with the help of Diane, he is hand-delivering numerous letters to companies throughout the town asking for support.
John added: 'I am hoping the charity night can be held towards the end of April or beginning of May. However, it will depend on the level of support from local companies, as this will help me in the planning of the event.
'Any prizes or gift donations such as shopping vouchers, a free meal, hotel break or gym membership towards a raffle or auction would be very much appreciated.' If you can help John with his fundraising, ring him on 07810 360208.