A KINGSWINFORD man is tackling a 192-mile coast to coast walk to raise cash for the hospital ward that cared for his premature niece.

Nathan Dixon, aged 34, set off from Robin Hood’s Bay, North Yorkshire on Friday (April 25) and is currently making his way to St Bees in Cumbria, to raise money for the neonatal unit at Russells Hall Hospital.

The gruelling walk will take 11 days and Nathan will carry his shelter, food and water with him throughout.

He is determined to thank staff for looking after his sister Rachel Dixon, when she was forced to have an emergency caesarean on December 18 last year.

Following a routine check-up, Rachel, aged 41, of Swindon, was admitted to hospital and diagnosed with pre-eclampsia, a condition that causes high blood pressure and can lead to serious complications.

Hours later, Jemima was born, two months ahead of schedule, weighing just 2lb 1oz.

Nathan, who attended Summerhill School, feared the worst when he was told his sister was in hospital, but said: "I shouldn't have been worried. On arrival into the ward it was obvious both my sister and Jemima had been put through their paces but they were both in great hands. The midwives, doctors, consultants and all the other staff on the ward - even the scary security guard - are literally worth their weight in gold."

The head groundsman at Slimbridge Wild Fowl Trust, Gloucestershire, added: "All donations will be going direct to the wards which have helped my sister and Jemima so that they can continue to give the amazing care to expectant and new moms along with their new born babies."

Rachel, who teaches dance at the Rachel Dixon School of Dance based at Glynne Primary School, Kingswinford, said: "Nathan has been really touched at the care myself and Jemima have received from the hospital staff and just felt he needed to do something to show them and that's how he came up with the fundraising idea.

“Nathan is now on his walk and we try and talk to him every day if phone reception allows us to. I'd like to say he is seeing lots of countryside and enjoying the experience but in reality it has been very misty with less than 50m visibility and day two was done almost totally in rain. I have a feeling he will sleep for a week when he gets home."

To sponsor Nathan, visit www.justgiving.com/coasttocoastforjemima.