He’s walked an incredible 4,300 miles to date; beginning on 5th March 2018 at the Baltic in Gateshead, through Northumberland, the entire coastline of Scotland, Cumbria, Lancashire, Merseyside and North Wales to Dublin in early April 2019. For the last six months, Brian has been walking the island of Ireland, meeting with doctors, oncologists, politicians, all the Lord Mayors and hundreds of well wishers, many with close association with cancer.
The North East based charity, ‘Daft a Brush Cancer Patient Care’ offers cancer patients free transport to and from hospital, who are undergoing Chemotherapy and / or Radiotherapy cancer treatment. In 2018, the charity completed some 40,000 patient journeys with a team of 350 volunteers.
Brian has found great similarities with the transport difficulties faced by cancer patients in Wales to those in the north east of England; “I’ve had the pleasure of meeting some incredible people, many with first-hand experience of cancer and the daily struggle of getting to and from hospital. It’s an issue that effects so many patients, no matter where they live. The feedback I’ve received about the Daft as a Brush service has been incredible. We’ll be in Aberystwyth by this weekend, with ‘Bluebell Bus’ parked at Mid Wales Travel depot. I have walked from Holyhead, towards Dwyran, over the Britannia Bridge around the Llŷn Peninsula to Porthmadog. We enjoyed a super welcome at Portmeirion with Meurig Jones, the Locations Manager. I am looking forward to meeting more people in Wales on my walk and highlighting the essential need for free cancer patient transport in the country.”
Brian and his wife, Cheryl have passed the half-way mark on their two-and-a-half year, 7,000 mile challenge. Their mobile home, a double decker bus donated by Stagecoach called “Bluebell”, has been generously accommodated by Arriva Bangor and in Aberystwyth, Mid Wales Travel have offered their depot to the charity trekker.
Cheryl Burnie is thrilled with the support; “The bus industries in England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales have been unbelievable. They’ve helped us so much and have been so kind, we can’t thank them enough. It’s very touching. I know Brian is very excited about possibility of bringing free cancer patient transport to Wales.”
Brian’s 7,000 mile walk is becoming even more of a challenge with the developing symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease. Stiff muscles, rigidity and slow movement make it harder to take normal steps, but the 75 year old is determined to complete his odyssey.
Gruff Owen – Wales Coast Path Officer, “We would like to welcome Brian to the Wales Coast Path on his phenomenal journey of 7,000 miles around the British Isles for cancer patients. Its amazing work he is doing and we wish him lots of luck!”
The walk will continue through towards Cardiff, where Brian has an appointment with the Velindre Cancer Centre and will also meet with the Lord Mayor – Councillor Daniel De’Ath, before crossing to Bristol and heading south west to Land’s End. They estimate to be back in the North East for Christmas 2020, returning via the east coast clocking up 7,000 miles walked.
By late 2020, Brian may also be a World Record holder – An application for a new World Record has been made for the ‘Oldest person to walk the coastline of Great Britain and Ireland.’ Brian is funding the walk privately to ensure all monies raised go directly to helping cancer patients all over Great Britain and Ireland.
You can follow Brian via GPS and discover more at: www.BluebellBus.org.uk