A PROUD son whose father died of COVID-19 will take on an epic challenge to raise funds for a children’s hospice.
Andy Hughes plans to run 188 miles from Flintshire to the Midlands and back in memory of his late dad Kevin, a champion of Hope House Hospice who passed away earlier this year after a long battle against the Coronavirus.
Kevin, a former police officer, journalist, and councillor, was much-loved in the community and a huge fan of Aston Villa football club.
Andy, 37, will journey from the family home in Gwernymynydd to Villa Park in Birmingham.
The round trip will begin on New Year’s Day and finish on January 8, exactly 12 months to the day that Kevin – who was just 63 years old – sadly died.
Aiming to raise £20,000 for Hope House with this and a series of other events throughout 2021, Andy said: “I wanted to do something for the charity and to continue the legacy Dad built up over the years.
“I’m certainly not a runner so the hard work really starts now; I’ll be getting fit and preparing to do him proud by raising as much money as possible for the hospice.
“Like Dad, I am a big Villa fan, and it seemed apt to include the football club because they were a great passion of his – he loved to watch them play.
“I already have a support network in place and will have friends and family joining me for different sections of the run. It will be around 25 miles a day, so this is a huge challenge.”
He added: “I hope to hear from businesses and sponsors who would like to get behind us, and anyone who can help us with accommodation in the Chirk, Shrewsbury and Wolverhampton areas.
“My dad did a lot for the hospice and so many people in the region – it would be great to give something back in his memory.”
Kevin’s death came three weeks after he delivered an impassioned plea from his bed at Wrexham Maelor Hospital for people to observe social distancing rules and take the pandemic seriously.
“For the sake of a day, one night out, a Christmas dinner or a party, it’s just not worth it. It’s really not worth it,” he said.
His mother Margaret also passed away with COVID-19, just weeks previously.
Alison Marsh, Head of Fundraising at Hope House Hospice, thanked Andy and his family for their continued support and generosity.
“Everyone at Hope House and Ty Gobaith are so delighted that Andy is taking on this challenge and that the whole family are going to continue to raise funds for us in Kevin’s memory,” said Alison.
“We were all truly saddened by Kevin’s death as he was a fantastic volunteer who worked tirelessly for the children and families we support. His passion was incredible and he was an integral part of the fundraising team in this area.
“He loved to tease anyone he came across who supported any team other than his beloved Aston Villa, and for that reason running to Villa Park is the most fitting tribute.”
She added: “His work for Hope House was motivated by our mission to ensure that no family faces the death of a child alone, and we are so grateful to Andy and all his team for continuing that legacy in Kevin’s name.”
To support Andy’s epic 2022 challenge, visit Villa park and Back | Facebook.