MEET the star sailor defying the odds to sail from London to Brighton this weekend.

Father-of-two Dave Kelsall was diagnosed with stage four oesophagus cancer last September with doctors warning they were not sure if he would make it to Christmas last year.

But after three months of chemotherapy, doctors reported Dave’s cancer had reduced by more than 50 per cent and a secondary cancer by 70 per cent.

The 56-year-old, from Culcheth, said: “I went to see my GP thinking I had got nothing more than a peptic ulcer and was having a laugh and a joke when I was having an endoscopy when he suddenly stopped and said there was a problem.

“I was numb when I found out but my wife was devastated. I didn’t have any normal symptoms and thought my heartburn was the result of stress after looking after my wife who had a brain haemorrhage in February last year.

“She almost died but after keyhole surgery and radiotherapy has luckily now made an almost complete recovery.

“Ironically, the day my cancer was confirmed at Warrington Hospital was the day she was given the all clear at The Walton Centre.”

The keen sailor, who is a member of Leigh and Lowton Sailing Club, now hopes to beat the odds in the same way as his wife of 35 years, Janet, after being told the life expectancy of stage four cancer was 10 months.

The former member of the merchant navy spotted the 140-mile ‘Sail 4 Cancer’ event as ‘something to aim for’ and said he is looking forward to hitting the water this Saturday.

The NHS assistant director of informatics, who is taking early retirement this month, added: “I feel incredibly lucky and it’s just a case now of watching and waiting.

“Taking part in this race is high on my bucket list for the sheer enjoyment of the experience, to raise funds for this fantastic cause (which provide sailing holidays for people with cancer and their families) and as a celebration of the simple fact that I can do it.”

So far more than £1,000 has been pledged by family, friends and Dave’s colleagues at 5 Boroughs. To donate, visit