Published: 05/06/2018 13:17 - Updated: 05/06/2018 13:24

Cancer charity founder Brian set to arrive at John O'Groats

Written byGordon Calder


Brian Burnie
Brian Burnie with his Bluebell Bus

THE founder of a cancer charity is expected to arrive at John O’Groats on Wednesday after an 800-mile walk which has taken three months to complete.

Brian Burnie (73), who suffers from Parkinson’s disease, founded the cancer patient charity Daft as a Brush in 2010 after he left the business world. It is free for cancer patients who need to get to and from hospital for chemotherapy and radiotherapy treatments.

Brian, an ex-millionaire hotelier who sold all his possessions to start the charity, plans to walk a total of 7000 miles around the coast of Britain and Ireland over two years. The charity has been very successful in the north-east of England but Brian wants to expand it to other parts of the UK.

“I am sincerely looking forward to reaching John O’Groats on Wednesday. This milestone represents an enormous step forward on my 7000-mile walk,” he said.

“Along with my mobile home Bluebell Bus, we’ll be arriving at approximately noon to take in the beautiful coastal views then moving on to Thurso.”

Brian wants to raise around £4 million over the two years and “get the word out” about how the service can be managed and run locally.

“We’re walking anticlockwise around Great Britain and Ireland then back to Newcastle in two years,” he added.

Brian set out on his coastal walk to John O’Groats on March 5.

He has met with MPs at the Scottish Parliament, medical professionals at hospitals throughout Scotland and many well-wishers.

Cheryl Finlay, who has been walking part of the way with him, said: “It has been genuinely moving at times. People from all backgrounds have offered donations and hot drinks to keep Brian going.

“I am delighted we’re about to reach John O’Groats. At times the walk has been very challenging and, with Parkinson’s disease, Brian has needed to find great strength to reach this amazing milestone.”

So far, the charity has a team of 350 volunteers and 30 ambulances and will be involved in about 40,000 cancer patient journeys in the north-east of England. Brian would like to provide a million patient care journeys a year.

He is confident the first Daft as a Brush cancer patient hub will be established in Scotland.

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