Walking 7,000 miles to promote free cancer patient transport all over Great Britain and Ireland.

Guest of honour Mr Len Gibson

By walking 7,000 miles around the Great Britain and Ireland, Brian Burnie, 78, aimed to highlight the difficulties of cancer patient transport and the issues patients have getting to and from hospital on a daily basis.

Raising funds by public and commercial donations, sponsorship and goodwill, his dream is to offer the ‘Daft as a Brush’ service nationwide.  The proposal includes the creation of a network of ‘hubs’ in strategic locations to provide free cancer patient journeys. The walk has taken Brian over 2.5 years, finishing on 23rd September 2020 at the Baltic in Gateshead after 7,036 miles walked.

Key visits include national cancer centres, hospitals and all Parliaments engaging with Health Ministers, Lord Mayors, patients, and medical professionals to explain the benefits, logistical service and the features of a fully operational model.

Watch the short film - Brian on his big walk in Wales

Dedicated to cancer patients

River Tyne Trail Stone

Daft as a Brush founder Brian Burnie set off around the coastline of the UK and Ireland in 2018 from Newcastle.

After walking 7,036 miles (11,300km), he said it was "unbelievably moving" as he was welcomed back to Newcastle by friends and family. He and supporters used a converted double-decker bus as a mobile home throughout their journey, called “Bluebell Bus”.

They started in Gateshead, went up and around the Scottish coast, on to Wales, then completed the Irish coast before returning to complete England. Brian, who has Parkinson's disease, visited cancer centres around the country to tell them about his charity, which has some 400 volunteers and 30 ambulances which make 60,000 patient journeys in the North East annually.

More than 15 million steps and nine pairs of boots later, Brian has reached the finishing line of his trek around the coastline of Britain and Ireland.

'Unforgettable'

“It’s been unforgettable. Living an unconventional life for two and half years has been a pure adventure, but the main aim was to visit cancer centres and bring awareness to what the charity does in the North East.”

Brian Burnie said "I am thrilled we can start planning to take the Daft as a Brush service nationwide. Living in our double decker bus has brought its own unique challenges, but I am so proud of everyone who has supported me, delivering this promise."

On his walk he's had the pleasure of meeting some incredible people, many with direct experience of cancer and the daily challenge of getting to and from hospital.

The issue affects so many patients regardless of where they live. The feedback received from cancer centres all over the country, has been incredible.

To achieve his goal, each day Brian walked up to 20 miles.

Walk-liverpool
John O'Groats

Boots made for walking...

"I am thrilled we can start planning to take the Daft as a Brush service nationwide. Living in our double decker bus has brought its own unique challenges, but I am so proud of everyone who has supported me, delivering this promise."

On his walk he's had the pleasure of meeting some incredible people, many with direct experience of cancer and the daily challenge of getting to and from hospital. The issue affects so many patients regardless of where they live. The feedback received from cancer centres all over the country, has been incredible.

Watch the short film of Brian walking the Isle of Skye.

Now that Covid is easing, Brian is beginning to roll out the Daft as a Brush service.

The free cancer patient transport service has started in the North West. Covering Carlisle and Whitehaven. Based in Carlisle's new £30m cancer centre, in the city's Cumberland Infirmary, Daft as a Brush volunteers also schedule transport for Chemotherapy patients to Whitehaven.

The charity is reaching out for further help in the North East and North West in Carlisle and Whitehaven areas; Volunteer Drivers and Patient Companions are urgently required – Please apply to be a volunteer by clicking here.

Each of the charity’s 30+ ambulances have been adopted by local first schools who give the ambulance a name and decorate the back with colourful artwork.

With the introduction of new ambulances to the North West, local schools are being asked to adopt and name the new fleet; we’re all looking forward to their creativity!

Any schools interested in adopting a new ambulance, which has no change, should view the Schools page by clicking here.

Brian has now started the last leg of his epic challenge - walking from Teesside to Torquay. Read more by clicking here.