Gina Dunn and Ann Garrett are aiming to raise a whopping £25,000 for Northeast charity Daft as a Brush

Two best friends who both lost their husbands to cancer, have teamed up to help raise money for a transport charity which supports people living with the disease..

Gina Dunn, 59, and Ann Garrett, 73, have pledged to raise £25,000 to buy a new vehicle for Daft as a Brush which now operates 25 ambulances in the North East of England and provides free transport to hospital for cancer patients to receive chemotherapy and radiotherapy treatments.

The organisation, backed by 300 volunteers, is expected to make 20,000 patient journeys this year and next year the charity hopes to offer its service to even more people.

Gina and Ann, from Newcastle, are doing the fundraising in memory of their late husbands Les and Billy who both died from cancer. Ann’s late husband Billy also used the transport provided by Daft as a Brush.

Gina told the Newcastle Chronicle: “I know first hand how much Daft as a Brush helped Ann and Billy as they are very good friends of my late husband Les and myself. Daft as a Brush [was] not established when Les was ill. I was fortunate to be able to drive and have a car.

“I decided in February 2016 that I would start to fundraise to try and raise the £25k to purchase the vehicle. Together with Mandy Garrett, Ann and Billy‘s daughter, we did a 21 mile midnight walk. It was hard but we raised just over £1,500 between us. Now I’ve set myself the biggest challenge to raise the remainder of the money before February 2018.’’

Gina added: “Whilst Les was in hospital, he requested that I help as many children as possible especially with cancer. I feel I’ve achieved what Les requested. Now my aim is to hit this target and more children and adults will benefit from this amazing charity.’’

Ann said: “I can’t praise Daft as a Brush enough for the service they provide for cancer patients undergoing chemo and radiotherapy treatment.

“Without, Daft as a Brush many patients wouldn’t be able to make their appointment or alternatively have to wait hours for the NHS ambulance service. They are making a difficult situation a lot easier for the patients and their families. I know this because my late husband Billy used their transport and the care given to him and myself was excellent.’’

Rex Winter, chief executive of Daft as a Brush said: “Gina first approached us at the beginning of May this year, when she was proposing to raise enough money for Daft as a Brush to purchase a new ambulance. Gina was undaunted when I told her that the cost of an ambulance was in the region of £25,000!

“Gina’s fundraising, assisted by her friend Ann Garrett, will hugely assist the work our charity does for cancer patients. We provide a free transport service to and from the Freeman and RVI Hospitals, while patients are undergoing chemotherapy or radiotherapy treatment.”

Gina is hoping businesses and well wishers might help her with raffle prizes for a sold-out event later this month.

Gina has set up a Just Giving page which has so far received £2,700 in donations.