Barrhead man breaks his own world record for charity close to his heart

William Cannon was supported by staff at Eastwood Park Leisure Centre, including venue assistant Zoe McFarlane.
William Cannon was supported by staff at Eastwood Park Leisure Centre, including venue assistant Zoe McFarlane.

Fitness fanatic William Cannon has smashed his own record with the world’s longest ‘Samson’s Chair’ for a charity that is close to his heart.

The 51-year-old from Barrhead undertook the charity challenge at Eastwood Park Leisure Centre in Giffnock and managed to break his record with a 12 hour 45 minute and 17 second ‘wall sit’.

Known as ‘Britain’s Fittest Man’, William currently holds 607 world records.

This time he broke his own record, squatting to raise money for DEBRA, the charity that supports people with Epidermolysis Bullosa (EB), a genetic skin blistering condition that can cause an aggressive and ultimately fatal form of cancer, and funds research into effective treatments and a cure for the condition.

William decided to support the charity after his dad’s recent skin cancer experience.

He explained: “My father suffered from skin complaints and developed cancer melanoma of the skin. When I heard about the charity DEBRA, it really struck a chord with me.

“I wanted to raise money for the charity and help people with EB who may also be facing cancer caused by their skin condition, in a similar situation to my father, so I decided to do a ‘wall sit’ or ‘Samson’s chair’, as it is sometimes known.

“My dad is doing well now – the skin melanoma is gone and he was given the all clear last year. My mum and dad came along to support me during the challenge at Eastwood Park. They’re both trained first aiders so they were on hand to keep an eye on me too.”

William has built up a strong rapport with the Guinness World Record team over his 35 years of setting records, but placed himself under the venue’s CCTV cameras so he had proof of his efforts.

He has set impressive records for strength and endurance, including a three hour half marathon with a 22kg rucksack, while raising money for charity.

William added: “I wanted to top my own record of 12 hours for the longest static wall sit and aimed for to 15 hours. I started at 7.30 in the morning.

“The support from everyone has been great, I was kept well fed and hydrated while I was here. I chose this location as I have used the facilities for training in the past and I find the surroundings very tranquil.”

Staff and fitness users at Eastwood Park supported the record-breaker throughout the day and helped him reach his target of £500 for the charity DEBRA.

Zoe McFarlane, venue assistant, said: “Everyone was talking about William’s charity challenge and it caused a real buzz in the venue.

“He did so well, despite the fact that it was really cold outside, and we’re all so impressed – what an amazing achievement!”

Jaye Hamilton, regional fundraising manager for DEBRA, added: “We honestly don’t know where William found the stamina to do this challenge, but we are so grateful for his time, talents and willingness to fight EB, a genetic skin blistering condition that causes lifelong disability and pain.”

To find out more about DEBRA visit www.debra.org.uk.