Teignmouth’s own Bear Grylls tackles Saharan charity trek to boost Bliss

08 February 2019

An adventurer from Teignmouth, who works at a national housebuilder based in Exeter, hopes Bear Grylls’ tips will come to his aid as he treks the Sahara to raise money for the charity that helped his brother.

Bovis Homes Bliss
James and Noah 
James Phillips, land manager at Bovis Homes, is embarking on an eight-day hike of the Moroccan Sahara, to collect donations for Bliss, which looks after the families of premature and sick babies.

James’ brother Noah was born almost two months early and weighed 3lbs at Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital. Now two-years-old, he has inspired James, who has prepared by studying Bear Grylls’ TV programmes, to take on the challenge.

The 25-year-old, who is hiking for the first time, said: “I wanted to do something extreme and I’ve never been to the desert before. There will be some huge snakes and spiders, but I’ve watched plenty of Bear Grylls and hope that will come in handy!

“As there’s no light pollution, I can’t wait to see all the stars at night and take some amazing photos. My friends and family think I’m crazy, but they’re very proud.

“It means a lot to my parents and hopefully for Noah in the future. Bliss has been absolutely brilliant for our family. They looked after Mum for a few months after the birth and have just always been there for us.”

James’ uncle Paul, an experienced trekker, is also taking part in the trip, along with a guide and another fundraiser. The group will hike through the Atlas Mountains with camels and camp under the stars.

They will spend the first and last day of their 10-day trip in Marrakech and jump into a 4x4 to get into the desert.

James joined Bovis Homes in November as part of a new team in the housebuilder’s South West region.

Bliss Bovis HomesHe was born in Torquay and attended Torquay Boys Grammar. He went on to study at Exeter College and later worked as a chef for a year before joining a housebuilder.

Noah spent three months in an incubator after he was born. Bliss works with health professionals and campaigns for better neonatal care while helping parents of premature and sick babies to care for them.

Greg Fitzgerald, chief executive at Bovis Homes, said James’ grit and determination was typical of many colleagues at the housebuilder.

Greg said: “I’m delighted James is performing well as a Bovis Homes employee and this expedition goes to show what an all-rounder he is – raising money for a fantastic cause that has done so much for his family.”

To donate towards James’ expedition, visit www.justgiving.com/fundraising/James-PhillipsTrek.