Before Brian Burnie sold all his possessions to create the cancer charity ‘Daft as a Brush’, he invited more than 2,000 War veterans to his Northumbrian mansion, Doxford Hall, to commemorate the anniversary of VJ Day in 2006.

2020 marks the 75th anniversary of one of the twentieth century’s most momentous events – the end of World War Two. Mr Burnie recalls the record-breaking event;

“I remember thousands of people came to Doxford Hall to enjoy the uplifting event. I think we received a Guinness World Record for the most fish and chips served in one day – over 3,000 portions. It was remarkable. The RAF Boulmer helped out by bringing in lunches by helicopter from Seahouses.” (Watch the short film by clicking here).

Brian is enduring an incredible 7,000 mile walking challenge to take the Daft as a Brush service all over Great Britain and Ireland.

“My dream is to take what we do in the North-East and offer the free transport service to cancer patients all over the country. However, after 5,126 miles to Torquay, coronavirus forced my return home.” He said.


Not one to be defeated, Brian has taken-up the challenge of walking the remaining 1,182 miles in his own back garden and more recently, around a neighbouring golf course.

He will complete the equivalent distance from Torquay to Teesside by Saturday 15th August 2020; VJ Day. He will walk the last few yards at Daft as a Brush House in Gosforth with Far East War Veteran and Centenarian, Mr Len Gibson.

Mr Gibson served in the 125th Anti-Tank Regiment of the Royal Artillery and was shipped out the Singapore in 1942. He will be the guest of honour on the day.

Mr Burnie is delighted with the response and feedback from NHS Trusts all over Great Britain and Ireland and vows to expand the ‘Daft as a Brush’ service.

“Watch this space, 2021 will be the year our first hubs will open. Coronavirus may have changed our lives, but it will not change what the charity provides for cancer patients. I dearly hope we are all able to come together on Saturday 15th August 2020.”

Assuming lock-down restrictions are eased enough, kind-hearted Brian is planning something big, and he’s just the man to make it happen on 15th August 2020:

10.00am Arrive at Daft as a Brush House, Gosforth, Newcastle, NE3 2DR. Guest of honour Len Gibson with supporters and Pearly King, Queen present.

10.45am Brian Burnie and VIP guest Mr. Len Gibson, Far East Prisoner of War, to walk the final few yards of Brian’s charity walk locally, reaching the equivalent of Torquay to Teesside.

11.00am Two minute silence to commemorate the 75th anniversary of VJ Day. Special guest Mr. Brian Hindmarsh, Bugler, to play the Last Post.

11.05am – Ernest Young, BEM and members of Bede Wind Orchestra entertain.

Everyone is invited to enjoy refreshments and canapés in the ‘Bluebell Suite’ and the gardens of Daft as a Brush House. Commemorative film shown throughout the morning. Conclusion at approx 12.00 noon.

War veterans, families and those who would like to attend are invited to email: [email protected] for more information. Please be aware spaces are limited.

Brian needs to raise £1m to roll-out the Daft as a Brush service, you can support his challenge by donating here:

Brian and Cheryl will walk the final 50 miles from Teesside on Sunday 13th September 2020 to arrive at the Baltic in Gateshead on Thursday 24th September 2020 marking the end of his epic 7,000 mile walk for free cancer patient transport. We hope you can join him during this ‘last leg’. Maps and full details will follow. Thank you.