Family heartbreak will keep me going

Francie and Margaret McKean died from cancer within weeks of each other
Francie and Margaret McKean died from cancer within weeks of each other

Sister and brother-in-law lost to cancer within weeks

When former solder John Bradley steps out on his latest long distance hike next month, his thoughts will be very much with his late sister Margaret McKean and her husband, Francie.

Charity walker John Bradley with, l-r, post office owner Andy Hakeem, fundraiser Ray Mitchell and MSP Richard Lyle

Charity walker John Bradley with, l-r, post office owner Andy Hakeem, fundraiser Ray Mitchell and MSP Richard Lyle

Margaret passed away last month just a few weeks after Francie lost his own battle with cancer.

John, from Bellshill, raised £1100 for Cancer Research UK by completing the Kilt Walk from Glasgow to Loch Lomondside last year and is re-doubling his efforts to surpass that figure.

He said: “It was always my plan to raise funds for cancer research again, but what’s happened over the last year has made me even more determined.”

Writing on his Just Giving page, the 58-year-old, who fought in Northern Ireland and the Falklands, added: “People think that because you are an ex-soldier seeing death comes easy.

“Let me tell you it doesn’t when it’s one of your family. In a war or conflict it’s a shot and no suffering, but when it’s cancer it’s months and years of pain and suffering, trying to stay strong for all those around you.” John, who also lost his younger sister Elizabeth O’Donnell at the end of last year, was handed a £500 boost from Bellshill charity champion Ray Mitchell on Friday. It’s the latest proceeds from the sale of raffle tickets at Bellshill Post Office which has boosted so many good causes over the years.

Ray, who thanked customers and also Lawmuir Stores for its support, said: “I was only too happy to help John’s own fundraising especially after what the family have gone through.”

John, whose exploits include trekking the West Highland Way five times, now works at Warburtons bakery in Bellshill. He will be joined in the Kilt Walk on April 30 by work colleagues Brian and Gail Dawson.

l Anyone wishing to donate should visit www.justgiving.com/fundraising/John-Bradley12.