FORMER heart patient Des Mahon is about to test himself to the limit - tackling three of the world's most notorious volcanoes.

He plans to scale the heights of Etna, Vesuvius and Stromboli in an effort to save other people's lives.

Mr Mahon, 54, of Easingwold, North Yorkshire, a former RAF engineer, is now the health and safety officer for the York Museums Trust and Yorkshire Air Museum.

Fourteen years ago has was diagnosed as having heart disease. He has since undergone two bypass operations and is fully recovered.

However, he wanted to do something to help others facing the same problem, and plans to undertake the six-day trek in May to raise funds for the British Heart Foundation.

He will be following in the footsteps of York benefactor Tempest Anderson, an ophthalmic specialist who was also a pioneer of town planning and a leading light in the Yorkshire Philosophical Society.

Anderson was also an acknowledged expert on volcanoes and just over a century ago he visited, studied and photographed the Italian volcanoes.

Those photographs are regarded as scientifically important and are preserved at the Yorkshire Museum in York.

Mr Mahon said: "My two heart operations have enabled me to return to a full and active way of life. I do, however, realise that many others affected by heart disease aren't as lucky and so this trek will enable me to do something positive to help them.

"As an ex-RAF engineer I have always been extremely fit but I know that this will be a real test of my strength."

Anyone who would like to help the heart foundation by sponsoring Mr Mahon can call him at the York Museums Trust on (01904) 551852.