A YOUTH charity boss bidding to collect £80,000 to keep the organisation afloat has suffered a broken hip in the middle of his all-action fundraising campaign.

Stuart Barnes aimed to complete 50 challenges in 50 months as he prepared to celebrate his 50th birthday.

But the 47-year-old director of the Sycamore Project, which runs Zac’s Youth Bar in Market Street, Farnworth, a youth centre in Prestolee, Kearsley, and outreach projects in Little Lever, Tonge Fold and The Haulgh, snapped his hip when he was 23 miles into the Manchester Mara-thon.

Stuart said: “I had completed 15 of the challenges. I’m not a super-fit runner, more of a plodder. But I have completed five mara-thons, which is not bad for a 47-year-old diabetic.

“I was going along quite well when my hip just broke — it was a devastating blow.”

Mr Barnes is now laid up in his Little Lever home after initially raising more than £12,000 of his target figure and is undergoing a long and arduous rehabilitation process.

He is now appealing for ideas from people for challenges he can complete while seated.

He added: “Maybe a sports centre will sponsor me for going round a track on a zimmer frame.”

Mr Barnes and his team of volunteer youth workers and interns are also appealing for help from the local business community to help keep the charity going.

He added: “During the past three years, the number of young people we work with has doubled to about 1,500, while the income we receive from funding has dropped by 30 per cent.

“We are determined not to cut anything we do, which is why we are running an intern scheme why we are constantly organising fundraising events.”

The Sycamore Project was launched 15 years ago by a group of individuals from local churches.

“We wanted to do something for young people which was faith based, but not faith biased,” said Mr Barnes. “We are suitable for any young person of any faith or no faith.”

The project also has a dedicated prog-ramme of activities for young people with special needs and has employed an inclusion worker.

Anyone who can help the project with funding ideas is asked to contact Mr Barnes on 01204 577968.