A HEREFORDSHIRE man is embarking on a epic challenge to raise money for the four neo-natal units that helped look after both his children.

Benjamin Dykes, from Leominster, is undertaking an epic 48-hour walk from Birmingham to Ledbury with the help of close friend Graham Barber.

The pair are walking four miles every four hours for two days while carrying all their supplies and sleeping equipment with them to camp out under the stars during rest periods.

He is raising funds through a Just Giving page for the Hereford, Worcester, Gloucester and Birmingham special care baby units that cared for his children.

Mr Dykes' daughters Anja, 10 and Olympia aged 5 were both born at 32 weeks and both weighed just four pounds at birth.

Without the specialist care of the SCBUs, the girls may not have survived or may have developed life-long complications.

Having been through a premature labour once with first baby Anja, Mr Dykes and his wife Kasia were out shopping in Birmingham for the day when she started to feel contractions.

Mr Dykes said: "It was our first proper day out together without Anja.

"We thought were going to have a nice relaxing time, it turns out we were wrong.

"We rung our midwife in Hereford when we got back to the car in Birmingham, and she said we have to get to the nearest hospital because we wouldn't make it back to Hereford.

On arrival at Birmingham City Hospital, the couple were informed that they were going to have the baby straight away.

Olympia was born and was immediately taken away to an incubator. After weeks of treatment at Birmingham, Gloucester and Hereford she was finally strong enough to come home and complete the family.

Mr Dykes is extremely grateful for the hard work, care and dedication of all the specialists who helped them and continue to help others.

He said: "We've got two wonderful, healthy, young girls because of them.

"We can never fully repay what they did for us, but I thought I should do something, however small.

"That's what this challenge is all about, to help the fantastic doctors and nurses who cared for my two girls to save some more lives."