A MAN is preparing to take the plunge to help raise funds for an under threat Christmas festival.

John Palmer, of Llangollen, is planning to swim two miles from the Chainbridge Hotel on the edge of town to the Corn Mill restaurant in the town centre.

He will tackle some of the river’s most challenging rapids during his swim which is in aid of the town’s annual Christmas festival to help ensure it can take place this year.

Mr Palmer, 64, has more than 40 years experience of canoeing and kayking around the world, including regularly taking to the white waters of the Dee.

But doing so without the comfort of a canoe will be a new challenge for the retired outdoor instructor.

“Having worked on and around the river for more than 25 years, I’ve got to know it very well and I’ve secretly always wanted to swim it, and it seemed like a fun way of raising money for a very good cause,” said Mr Palmer.

“I hope as many people as possible will sponsor me so we can help make the festival happen this year.”

Mr Palmer wanted to do something to help after he heard there was a possibility that the Christmas festival might not go ahead this year.

He said: My family and I have been to the festival every year since it started and there’s nothing quite like walking through the displays with a glass of mulled wine to get you into the festive mood.

“It’s wonderful that we have an event organised by the community, for the community that brings everybody together.”

The Christmas festival has marked the start of the festive season in the town for the last five years.

Mr Palmer will be undertaking his swim during the next two weeks, provided the river’s water levels are suitable.

“Obviously I don’t want it too shallow or I’ll hit every rock on the way down,” he said, “and it’s just as important that it’s not too high, or the swim could get dangerous.”

People can sponsor Mr Palmer by signing the sponsorship forms which can be found at the ProAdventure shop on Castle Street, Llangollen, and with Ian Parry, the Llangollen town clerk, at Llangollen Town Hall.

Mr Palmer can also be contacted via email at Johnpalmer55@ hotmail.com for direct donation pledges.