Daft as a Brush charity to feature at Alwinton Show

A TRADITIONAL country show takes place in Northumberland this weekend, with a regional cancer charity set to feature prominently.

The Daft as a Brush charity's cancer patient ambulance launch. Brian Burnie with, from left, Millya and Libby Jacobson, Josh Heslop and Owen Allison.

A TRADITIONAL country show takes place in Northumberland this weekend, with a regional cancer charity set to feature prominently.

The Alwinton Border Shepherds’ Show takes place on Saturday. The event, now in its 146th year, takes place as ever on the showfield at the village, west of Rothbury.

The Daft as a Brush cancer patient care charity is set to feature strongly in the show, with one of its main attractions being named after the charity, and Daft as a Brush having a visible presence on the show field.

The charity was set up by Northumberland millionaire Brian Burnie using proceeds from the sale of his Doxford Hall hotel near Alnwick. Mr Burnie, whose wife Shirley once suffered from breast cancer, set up the charity to provide free transport for people needing to go to hospital for cancer treatment.

It takes people from Northumberland and Tyne and Wear to Newcastle’s Freeman Hospital.

The charity runs seven vehicles but is to expand to 26.

The link-up with the show came about when Mr Burnie, who has attended the event for more than 40 years, came up with the idea of the charity getting involved while watching last year’s fell race.

He approached the show committee, asked if the charity could have a presence on the day and was invited to one of its meetings.

Members agreed and it was decided the race would be known as the Daft as a Brush fell race.

Entry to the three-mile hill event is free with the adult winner to collect £200, the child winner £50, the first three in each category to receive special certificates and all runners to receive a medal.

The charity will also have its seven ambulances and a group of its volunteers in attendance on the showfield. Two of the volunteers signed up having benefited from the charity’s service: Michael Peters, from Debdon, near Rothbury, who was the first patient it carried, in March, and Eddie Carson, from Winlaton, who had successful treatment and is now a chauffeur driver.

It is hoped they will recruit new volunteers, with more needed from across the region, and raise awareness of the charity.

Finally, Daft as a Brush will have a buzzer game for children, involving the charity’s two mascots Mr and Mrs Brush, with lollipops as prizes. Mr Burnie said: “I have been going to Alwinton for over 40 years and it is without doubt the best show in Northumberland.

“It is an absolutely amazing setting, the height of the Coquet Valley.

“It is going to be a fantastic day.”

Expressing his gratitude to the show’s organisers, he added: “They know there is a need in rural areas for transport moving cancer patients at the moment. It is a wonderful way of promoting a service to patients and letting volunteers know we are looking for more.”

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