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One man and his doc

19 June 2013


80-year-old Bert Goodbourn is undertaking a Great Train Journey around Great Britain in aid of Southend University Hospital’s Eye Unit.

Wheelchair-bound Bert, who lives in Leigh, will leave Leigh-on-Sea train station at 7.20am on Friday morning, June 21st, and embark on a train journey that will take him up to John O'Groats in Scotland, down the west of England to Lands End in Cornwall, then back along the south coast to Leigh - a total of over 1,400 miles. 

If the journey is possible without any delays, Bert is due back at Leigh station on the evening of Sunday, June 23rd.

Having suffered several heart attacks and strokes, being diagnosed with cancer of the spine and receiving treatment for deep vein thrombosis and diabetes amongst other medical problems -all  since 2001 - Bert has needed to utilise several different NHS services through Southend University Hospital.

In order to say 'thank you' for the excellent care he has received, Bert has undertaken several fundraising activities to raise money for the various departments of the hospital which have helped him and he has raised tens of thousands of pounds in total so far.

But Bert is not finished yet, and having recently received treatment for problems with his eye at the hospital's Eye Unit, he noted that the patient's waiting room was desperately in need of a makeover - so he set to work planning his latest adventure to raise funds.

Bert's previous fundraising activities have included jumping out of aeroplanes but, as he is now wheelchair-bound and finds it difficult to get the necessary insurance, white-knuckle activities are no longer an option for Bert - much to his disappointment! 

He therefore wanted to think of something different but possible in his physical condition and, having always enjoyed travelling around the UK, a plan began to form in his mind of a round-the-UK railway journey.

Earlier this year, Bert had an appointment at the heart clinic at Southend University Hospital where he told his cardiologist about his plans.   Dr Tom Keeble was unhappy at the idea of Bert travelling alone - however, instead of telling Bert not to go, the doctor has taken the time off work to accompany Bert on his adventure to help him on and off trains.  He is also bringing along his 7-year-old son Rory to keep the pair out of trouble!

A friend of Dr Keeble's, Ray Goldman of RDG Engineering, had sponsored the train tickets.  The doctor is trying to arrange overnight stays in Lands End and John O'Groats through churches in the local areas and is also trying to get the car hire sponsored, which will ensure the pair get from the nearest train stations right to the famous landmarks. 

Therefore every penny of sponsorship money Bert receives will go directly to the Eye Unit.

You can sponsor Bert via the following link: www.justgiving.com/madbertstrainjourney