Damian Rees, 38 originally from Rugby and now lives in Banbury, set off on an epic journey running solo for 300 miles from Rugby on 2nd May and finally finished the trek on 16th May at the World Beard & Moustache competition, this year being held in Antwerp, Belgium.

Damian has been in the ever growing beaded community for the last 5 years and helps run a facebook group with over 8000 members (ibeardclub) and competes at UK beard competitions. He has always competed in these in Forest Gump fancy dress to raise awareness of the charitable challenge that he recently undertook and completed.

The idea was born off the back of a very successful charity event which his sister, Jody Rees held in 2016 aptly named “Miracle Miles” after she gave birth to premature twins in 2014. Damian’s niece Eva and nephew Luke were born 3 months premature and the whole family have been very grateful to the life giving support that the neonatal unit at University Hospital Coventry provided and on-going care from the children’s ward.

This was miracle miles part 2! Damian endured the difficult task of navigating and running 20+ miles per day, every day to Belgium – and he doesn’t like running! Damian has raised over £5000 so the neonatal unit can give the best chance and care to all of the families that go through a similar situation.

Damian said, “They truly have a difficult job and I have immense respect for their courage and dedication. Unfortunately, not all of the stories end as well as Luke and Eva’s”.

The Neonatal unit at UHCW are raising funds for a V-Create system through UHCW Charity. The system is a secure video and photograph messaging service that staff and families can access any time of the day. It allows parents to access updates created by staff and helps to minimise separation anxiety when families cannot be with their child. Staff on the unit will be able to document moments that parents ordinarily may miss such as, being snuggled in after having cares performed or coming off a ventilator. Jo Bradshaw a nurse at the unit said, “All our families will benefit from having this on the unit. Being able to see their child comfortable and settled will really help the emotional well-being of all the families in our care”.

Damian set off on his mammoth challenge on May 2nd at 10am from Mr Robinsons barbershop, Church Street, Rugby. You can donate at https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/uncledamo4show