Pair in attempt to mow the distance

John Deere turf division manager Chris Meacock, Andy and Kathryn Maxfield, and Sue Swire of Alzheimers Society
John Deere turf division manager Chris Meacock, Andy and Kathryn Maxfield, and Sue Swire of Alzheimers Society

A prison officer will swap jail walls for the open air when he attempts to break a quirky world record.

HMP Kirkham prison officer Andy Maxfield wants to break a six year old Guinness World Record by driving from John O’Groats to Land’s End on a John Deere lawn tractor.

Kirkham Prison - where Andy mows the grass

Kirkham Prison - where Andy mows the grass

And he aims to raise thousands for the Alzheimer’s Society when he sets off on July 25.

Andy and his daughter Kathryn, who is a hairdresser at Leckonby Hair Studio in Great Eccleston, are planning to drive non-stop to break the record, which stands at four days and 23 hours.

They will be using a standard 24hp X950R lawn tractor (minus the rear collection system and mower deck) and support vehicles provided by John Deere.

The X950R has cruise control and a top road speed of 10mph, and will also be equipped with a GPS tracker to qualify for the record.

I started thinking about fundraising ideas towards the end of last year, when my dad was going downhill quite quickly

The ‘Driving the Distance for Dementia’ Challenge is due to set off from John O’Groats at 10am.

The distance by road to Land’s End is 874 miles.

Andy and Kathryn will also be supported by Andy’s wife Karen, who is a Deafway support worker in Preston, and their other daughter Kaitlyn, a college student who will be blogging and taking videos and photographs of the challenge along the route.

There is a family history of Alzheimer’s, as it affects Andy’s 77-year-old father James and James’ mother Theresa was also diagnosed with the condition.

Andy Maxfield said: “I started thinking about fundraising ideas towards the end of last year, when my dad was going downhill quite quickly.

“It was my birthday in January, so I asked people to make donations to charity instead of giving me presents, and it’s gone on from there.

“I then had the idea of a fund-raising ball to raise money for Alzheimer’s Society, which will be held on Saturday December 9 at Preston Masonic Hall.

“Alongside that, because friends and neighbours often take the mickey out of me for being into lawnmowers – I’ve got eight altogether – I just thought it would be appropriate to choose a lawn tractor for the record breaking attempt.” John Deere Ltd’s turf division manager Chris Meacock said: “Our UK and Ireland employees select a specific charity each year to support with a variety of fundraising activities.

“By coincidence we had chosen the Alzheimer’s Society when we were approached by Andy to help with the Guinness World Record attempt, so it was very good timing on his part.”

Sue Swire, regional community fundraising officer for Alzheimer’s Society in Lancashire and Cumbria, said: “We are so grateful to Andrew and his daughter Kathryn, who are taking on such a great challenge to raise money to unite against dementia.

“Dementia devastates lives, but dementia won’t win. Funds raised from the challenge will help us move a step closer to a world without dementia.”

• The Alzheimer’s Society can help anyone affected by dementia and there are lots of ways the charity can help. Call the National Dementia Helpline on 0300 222 1122 or visit www.alzheimers.org.uk

The charity ball has a JustGiving website page for donations at www.justgiving.com/andrew-maxfield, text MAXF80 £3 to 70070 or visit www.facebook.com/ForgetMeNotPreston.