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Last Updated: Sunday, 13 August 2006, 11:29 GMT 12:29 UK
Charity walker crosses the Mersey
Charity river walker Graham Boanas
Mr Boanas took just over an hour to complete the walk

A 6ft 9in tall charity fundraiser has become the first man to walk across the River Mersey - with his head sticking out above the water.

Graham Boanas, 43, from Hull, took just over an hour to walk along mud and sandbanks and through a channel of water about 5ft deep at low tide.

He raised cash for Debra, a charity for those with the genetic skin blistering condition, Epidermolysis Bullosa (EB).

A helicopter and a hovercraft followed to ensure his safety on Sunday's walk.

Mr Boanas aimed to raise 100,000 and completed a similar charity walk across the Humber last year.

He walked two miles from Ince Banks near Ellesmere Port to Oglet Shore near Liverpool Airport.

At low tide on Sunday morning there was a narrow channel of water for Mr Boanas to cross.

Charity river walker Graham Boanas
The aim was to raise 100,000 for charity

Despite overcast weather he managed to cross the river in less time than he expected.

He set off just before 0800 BST and arrived on the opposite side of the river, near Liverpool's John Lennon Airport, just over an hour later.

The father-of-two said: "The hardest part is trudging through the sand and mud, it's exhausting.

"You just have to keep moving all the time and go for it. It's unbelievably difficult as the currents are quite strong in the Mersey.

"But I've been training hard in the gym to make sure I was in the best condition.

He added: "I saw a programme about children with EB and I just wanted to help.

"I came up with the idea of walking across rivers, I just wanted to do something different to raise lots of money for them."


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