South Shields cancer patient’s praise for Sir Bobby Robson Foundation after new ambulance funded

From left, patient Colin Costello, from South Shields, Lady Elsie Robson, volunteer driver Alan Gibson, Rex Winter, chief executive of Daft as a Brush, and Brian Burnie, founder trustee of Daft as a Brush.
From left, patient Colin Costello, from South Shields, Lady Elsie Robson, volunteer driver Alan Gibson, Rex Winter, chief executive of Daft as a Brush, and Brian Burnie, founder trustee of Daft as a Brush.

A South Tyneside man battling prostate cancer has hailed a charity after it funded a vital new ambulance service for patients.

Colin Costello, 66, from South Shields, is receiving treatment for the disease at the Northern Centre for Cancer Care, part of the Freeman Hospital, in Newcastle.

Using Daft as a Brush takes all the stress out of getting here for treatment

Colin Costello

Travelling for treatment can prove stressful for patients, but the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation has helped to alleviate those concerns by funding a patient ambulance for the ‘Daft as a Brush Cancer Patient Care’ service.

The ambulance – called ‘Reach for the Stars’ – cost £20,000, and is already being used by patients, including Mr Costello.

It replaces the original ambulance of the same name, which was part-funded by the charity in 2013.

Mr Costello, who is a retired process trainer, has been using the Daft as a Brush service daily for the last four weeks.

He said: “Using Daft as a Brush takes all the stress out of getting here for treatment.

“The people who give up their time to drive are just brilliant and the vehicles are excellent.

“It’s a service I really appreciate, as does everyone else who uses it.”

Daft as a Brush Cancer Patient Care also provides a free transport service to and from the Royal Victoria Infirmary, in Newcastle, for outpatients undergoing chemotherapy and radiotherapy.

Some of the patients come from as far afield as the Scottish Borders, North Yorkshire and West Cumbria.

Lady Elsie Robson, the wife of the late Sir Bobby, has helped to continue the foundation’s good work since her husband’s death in 2009.

She said: “This is such a helpful service for people travelling regularly for cancer treatment.

“Travel can really add to the stress of treatment and to have that removed is marvellous. And not just for the patient.

“It’s a weight off the minds of friends and relatives to know there’s this excellent service available to help with the transport side of things.

“I think the volunteers who run Daft as a Brush do a magnificent job.”

The foundation was launched by Sir Bobby in 2008, and has gone on to raise over £11million to find more effective ways to detect and treat cancer.

The Sir Bobby Robson Cancer Trials Research Centre is based at the Northern Centre for Cancer Care.