Prison officers go the 'Full Monty' to raise money for cancer charity Daft as a Brush

Not wanting to do things by half, officers at Frankland Prison in Durham have gone the full monty to raise money for a new ambulance to transport cancer patients.

The sell-out event, which took place at Durham Rugby Club, has helped raise over £24,000, enough for Daft as a Brush – the charity which provides the vital service – to purchase a new vehicle.

The event was organised by prison officers Julie Crow and Tony Ryan who’ve both been affected by cancer.

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Julie benefited from the service which transported her to Newcastle’s Freeman Hospital where she was receiving Chemotherapy treatment for breast cancer. Having recently ‘rung the bell’ to signify the end of her treatment, she was keen to give something back.

Julie said: “It was amazing. So many friends and family made the journey from my home town of Manchester to give so much encouragement. Cancer touches many families and everyone wanted to contribute to our goal and raise money for a new ambulance.

“I found the Daft as a Brush service excellent. It really relieved the stress and anxiety of getting to and from hospital each day for my treatment.”

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Tony, 51, was also keen to support the charity after sadly losing his mother, Florence, to cancer in 2013. Florence was also transported to treatment by Daft as a Brush and after seeing the support she received it became Tony’s “dream” to raise enough money to purchase a new vehicle.

Frankland Prison staff performing the Full Monty for charity.

However, with over 200 people in attendance, Tony admitted he was apprehensive about leaving nothing to the imagination.

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He said: “I didn’t sleep for two nights as I was so nervous. We thought it would be just a few friends and close family but when word got out, Julie’s family and friends from Manchester made a huge effort to support us. Before we knew it, there were over 200 tickets sold.”

Tony was joined in baring all by fellow prison officers Dave Ryan, Jonny Donoghue and Nick Pallister.

He added: “Dave, Jonny and Nick were having second thoughts, especially after a practice session went very wrong with our trousers revealing too much.

(Left to right) John White MBE Prison Service Charity Fund, Tony Ryan with his wife, Joanne Ryan, Martin Crow and wife Julie Crow and Daft as a Brush Founder, Brian Burnie.
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"However, as word spread all kinds of fantastic prizes were donated for the charity raffle. We were given holidays, spa breaks, hampers, hotel

stays and more – just incredible.

"After this generosity we became even more determined to make this happen”.

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Coupled with additional donations from the Prison Service Charity Fund, a total of £24,380 was raised to purchase the new ambulance which will be named Florence Ryan in memory of Tony’s mother.

Daft as a Brush founder Brian Burnie said: “Just unbelievable. It’s very moving to see so many people come together to support cancer patients in our region.

"Tony, Dave, Nick, and Jonny were very brave in-front of so many people. On behalf of the charity’s trustees, volunteers and staff a huge thank-you to Julie and everyone who made this possible, including Durham City Rugby Club who gave use of their facilities at no charge."

Daft as a Brush Cancer Patient Care operate over 50,000 journeys each year helping patients on their journey to recovery. Over £3,500 worth of raffle items were donated from SAFC, McDonalds Old England Hotel and Spa, Newton Hall Florist, La Spada, Co-Op, Sainsbury’s and Turtle Bay restaurant in Durham.

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