Topsham man takes part in 125 mile kayak race for RD&E unit

AN INSPIRATIONAL businessman has taken part in a kayak race on behalf of a hospital unit which cared for his daughter when she was born two months early. Jack Russell, who works as a motivational speaker for Topsham-based business PDC Inspiration, compete

AN INSPIRATIONAL businessman has taken part in a kayak race on behalf of a hospital unit which cared for his daughter when she was born two months early.

Jack Russell, who works as a motivational speaker for Topsham-based business PDC Inspiration, competed in the 125 mile Devizes to Westminster International Canoe marathon for the Neonatal unit at Exeter's Royal Devon & Exeter.

He chose to raise money for the unit because his two-year-old daughter, Bella, spent the first weeks of her life there after being born prematurely.

Mr Russell, of Denver Road, has raised around �700 so far. He is continuing to collect sponsorship money and wants to gather around �1000.


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"Because of their care, today Bella is the life and soul of life's party," said Mr Russell, who has taken part in the event on nine occasions.

"The unit is very close to my heart. I felt compelled to give something back to them as they kept my daughter alive."

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Mr Russell completed the 125 mile kayak race in 21 hours and 57 minutes, finishing in 28th position.

He stopped along the way to help somebody on the last stretch who experienced difficulties.

"I was feeling a bit anxious about doing the race because even though I've done it a number of times before, the last occasion was back in 2004.

"But, I coped well. There is still a bit of life left in the old boy," he joked.

The neonatal department has intensive care, high dependency and special cots to care for premature and sick newborn babies.

The unit, which has around 22 cots, is staffed by a team of consultants, doctors, neonatal nurses, nurse practitioners and neonatal unit assistants.

At times, it can provide care for up to 26 babies.

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