Brian Burnie, on a 7,000 mile walking odyssey, isn’t giving in to Parkinson’s disease as he ticks-off another milestone – Walking the entire Wales Coast Path.
Mr Burnie founded charity Daft as a Brush Cancer Patient Care, which transports North-East patients to and from hospital. He is undertaking an epic charity walk to visit and encourage other NHS Trusts across the United Kingdom and Ireland to adopt the service.
Brian and Cheryl at Chepstow Tourist Information Office, markign the end of 870 miles walked!
Walking from Anglesey and the Wales Coast Path, he was notched up 4,609 miles into his 7,000 mile challenge to create 1,000,000 free cancer patient journeys.
Kevin Ford – Destination Marketing Officer for Visit Monmouthshire “It was inspiring to meet with Brian today and learn all about his walk and the important work done by Blue Bell Cancer Patient Care. As the start (or in this case, finish) of the Wales Coast Path we were happy to offer Brian a warm welcome to Chepstow & see him off from Wales in style. Monmouthshire is a real hub for walkers (with the Wales Coast Path, Offa’s Dyke Path & Wye Valley Trail all starting here) and the newly renovated Tourist Information Centre in Chepstow was sure to have a warm drink and cake ready for Brian and Cheryl when they arrived, as they do for thousands of visitors every year.
It was great to hear Brian’s stories from across Wales, Ireland & Scotland and especially loved that he feels Wales has ‘undoubtedly the most beautiful coastline’ of the area he walked, and that Cheryl took a keen interest in the history of the Severn tunnel at Sudbrook’s Local History Centre. We wish Brian ‘Pob Lwc’ for the rest of his journey, and hope he comes back to Visit Monmouthshire soon!”
Throughout the walk in Wales, Brian and Cheryl have been invited to meet hospital staff and managers to discuss the service; Brian has been encouraged by the feedback; Lisa Miller, Director of Operations at Velindre Cancer Centre in Cardiff said “Absolute pleasure to meet the Daft as a Brush team today, It’s been an excellent opportunity to hear the work
the charity has done. I would really hope and love, to have the service implemented in Wales and I really want to wish Brian luck with achieving 1,000,000 cancer patient journeys and on his incredible 7,000 mile walk.”
Brian has seen outstanding countryside on his challenge so far, but Wales has been exceptional: “The Wales Coast Path has been truly outstanding, a real gem to discover. But the weather has been against me at times slowing my progress. Living on a double decker bus can be challenging in winter, but Cheryl and I are determined to complete the 3 year trek.
The reaction from hospital staff, oncologists and radiographers in Wales has been unbelievable, everyone loves what we do in the North-East. I am so excited at the idea of bringing the Daft as a Brush service to the region.”
Walking up to 20 miles each day, 5 days a week is punishing for the 75 year old, but the couple estimate to be back in the North-East for Christmas 2020, returning via the east coast clocking up over 7,000 miles walked in 3 years.
Brian admits the encouragement from people he has met, and from back home, is motivating; “Yes, on occasion I’ve thought 7,000 miles may have been be too ambitious for me, but when I talk to complete strangers about what I want to achieve, the uplifting words, handshakes and smiles I receive are heartening. It really keeps me going when times are tough.”
Brian’s wife Cheryl is thrilled with the kindness they have received, and from the bus industries all over the country; “Bus companies in England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales have been brilliant. They’ve helped us so much and have been so kind to accommodate us, we can’t thank them enough. Having a double decker bus as your mobile home can be fun but it’s challenging too.”
The couple are receiving great attention from Lord Mayors all over the country; a recent visit to Swansea, Councillor Peter Black offered his support; “I am very impressed indeed with the work of the charity Daft as a Brush. Its a tremendous idea helping cancer patients fulfil their course of treatment. I wish Brian and Cheryl every success with the walk and with the charity and I hope their goal of reaching 1,000,000 patient journeys is met very soon indeed.”
Daft as a Brush Cancer Patient Care transports some 45,000 patients each year with a team of over 350 volunteers and a fleet of 30 ambulances. By replicating the service all over Great Britain and Ireland, Brian is convinced his dream of creating 1 million cancer patient journeys will become a reality; “It will happen. It’s clear there is a need for the service all over the country. So many patients have the same issues getting to and from hospital on a daily basis. Many live on their own, I would hate to know how many patients decline treatment because of the stress, anxiety and difficulties they experience.”