A MAN has cycled the length of Britain to raise funds for the Wrexham hospital unit that helped him and his wife to cope with the devastating death of their baby daughter.
Hywel Dodd, 42, and his 40-year-old wife, Kirsten, lost their daughter Nansi when she was born 25 weeks prematurely last January.
To thank the perinatal unit at the Maelor Hospital for the “fantastic” care it gave them during that painful time, he teamed up with two friends for a 270-mile cycle ride from Rhos to London.
The £2,000 raised by Hywel and brothers Paul and Gareth Scott, who are all members of the Rhos Male Voice Choir, will now be donated to the unit.
Hywel, who works as a conservation officer for Wrexham-based environmental group BTVC Cymru, recalled the trauma of Nansi’s death and said: “It is something you have to go through to know what it feels like.
“When it happened to my wife we were thinking all the time how to make it easier for other people in the future.
“We need more awareness of why premature death happens and to think of what we can do to prevent the loss of life.
“The figures are that any baby born 25 weeks or earlier prematurely is highly unlikely to survive.”
He added: “The perinatal department at the Maelor were fantastic when it happened to us and we wanted to do something to help them.
“Paul and Gareth came up with the idea of doing this ride and agreed when I suggested we raise money for the department.
“Paul and his wife Zoe had also lost a baby in similar circumstances 10 years ago so there was support for the idea.”
The intrepid trio set off on their marathon ride from outside the Stiwt Theatre in Rhos, where the choir rehearses, stopping for the first night in Stratford-upon-Avon in the Midlands.
Their second overnight halt was in Uxbridge, just north of London, before they reached the capital the next day, where they were greeted by Clwyd South MP Susan Elan Jones, who gave them a guided tour of Parliament.
She also donated a bottle of House of Commons wine for them to raffle at a concert in aid of their cause.
The lads had timed their arrival to meet up with fellow members of their choir for a concert in a church at Seaford, East Sussex, on the Saturday night, the proceeds from which also went towards their sponsorship fund.
Speaking of their long ride, Hywel said: “It was no picnic and was quite tough at times.
“Overall though it was a pleasure to do, apart from a couple of scrapes with bad drivers.
“We actually all said that we would do it again.”
Ms Jones said: “Paul, Gareth and Hywel have shown themselves to be tireless fundraisers for this very worthy cause.
“It was great to meet them en route and to support their fundraising.”
People can still sponsor the cyclists by emailing rmvcweb@ gmail.com or phoning Hywel on 07764 655717.
See full story in the Leader