Acclaimed Welsh actor Huw Davies is preparing to walk almost 500 miles across northern Spain later this month in memory of his nephew and father-of-one, Rhys Tom, who died unexpectedly earlier this year at the age of 31.
Huw, also known by his stage name Ifan Huw Dafydd, is aiming to raise £10,000 for two Welsh charities; Tŷ Hafan Children’s Hospice and the Jac Lewis Foundation, which promotes good mental health, boosts awareness of suicide and supports bereaved relatives and friends.
Rhys Tom, from Llandysul, or ‘Twm’ as he was known to family and friends, died on March 28 just four weeks before he was due to run the London Marathon for Tŷ Hafan in memory of one of his childhood friends who had been supported by the charity.
Huw, 69, from Cardiff, whose credits include The Light in the Hall, The Crown, Fireman Sam, Gavin and Stacey and Pobl y Cwm, is now preparing to take on the Camino de Frances pilgrimage, a 475 mile / 764km trek across the Pyrenees, plains and open countryside from St Jean-Pied-De-Port in south west France to Santiago de Compostela in north west Spain.
Says Huw: “My nephew Rhys Tom, known to everyone as Twm, was going to run the London Marathon this year. He’d promised to raise money for Tŷ Hafan Children’s Hospice in memory of a school friend.
“Twm never ran the marathon.
“On March 28th 2023 our family lost one of it’s colourful characters. A son, a brother, an uncle, a husband-to-be and father to little Celyn. A rugby player, a Welsh champion boxer, a marathon runner. An hour in his company left you exhilarated – the smile, the mischief, the leg pulling. That smile and the naughty twinkle in his eye – they’ll stay with me forever.
“At 31, Twm was far too young and far too precious to leave us.
“At 69 my running days are long past, but I intend to see that Twm’s promise to Tŷ Hafan is kept. Over August and September I’m going to walk the Camino Frances across Northern Spain to Santiago de Compostela – 764 kms.
“I hope to raise awareness and money for another charity. The Jac Lewis Foundation helps families bereaved by suicide.
“Ceredigion has the highest suicide rate in the UK – 20.1 for every 100,000 people, compared with 10.1!
“Please help me realise Twm’s promise by sponsoring me. Every penny will help children and their parents at a very desperate time. Thank you.”
Shelley Kirkham, Senior Fundraising Executive for Tŷ Hafan, said: “We are extremely grateful to Huw for taking on this massive challenge for us and the Jac Lewis Foundation. Nobody has a lot of money to spare these days, but I know that whatever you can afford to give will be very gratefully received. We wish Huw all the very best for his journey and look forward to following his progress on his social media feeds.”
Anthony Rees, Chairman of the board of Trustees for the Jac Lewis Foundation said: “The Jac Lewis Foundation is very grateful to Huw in choosing the JLF charity on this huge challenge, which will benefit so many people linked to both the JLF and Tŷ Hafan charities. I knew Rhys Tom on a personal level when he was undertaking his Carpentry Shared Apprenticeship with CCTAL many years ago. Pob lwc Huw a diolch yn fawr am dy ymdrech a cyfraniad ir elusennau.”
So far Huw has raised more than £5,000 of his £10,000 target. To make a donation go to: https://www.peoplesfundraising.com/fundraising/twm