Rossendale Free Press

Van outlaw Bev hits the road to help charities

- STUART PIKE @stuartpike­78

A VALLEY midwife has used a campervan passion discovered when recovering from cancer to support two charities close to her heart.

Back in April 2016 when she was in the final few months of her midwifery degree, mum-of-three Bev Small was diagnosed with breast cancer.

Initially she was told it was at an early stage, but further tests then revealed it was more advanced stage three - meaning she had to undergo chemothera­py, followed by surgery then radiothera­py.

Towards the end of her treatment at Rosemere Cancer Centre and South Cumbria’s specialist cancer treatment and radiothera­py centre at the Royal Preston Hospital, partner Darren surprised Bev by buying a VW van to kit out as a campervan.

Bev, from Weir, said: “I knew nothing about it, but Darren said my diagnosis had highlighte­d life was short and it was important for us to get out, enjoy ourselves and make memories.

“Darren converted the van into a campervan and now, every free weekend when possible, we go on an adventure in the camper. We have been to the Outer Hebrides, Wales, East Coast and down to Cornwall and have discovered some fantastic places. When we first started going out in the van, it was my life saver and escape from reality.”

Now five years since her diagnosis, Bev is working at the Sharoe Green Unit in Preston.

The couple have joined the Dubz Outlaws, a band of VW campervan and van enthusiast­s, founded by Argy and Ainsley Guana.

They hold regular meets to show their vehicles and offer one another tips and advice and also, to raise money for charity.

In the run-up to Christmas, they got together on the car park at Haslingden’s Winfields.

A raffle, sales of club merchandis­e, cakes and hot drinks raised £1,270, which Argy gave to Bev, who is splitting the donation between Rosemere Cancer Foundation and education charity Breast Cancer Now.

Bev said: “I owe my life to the treatment and care I received at Rosemere Cancer Centre and the Central Lancashire Breast Unit. I am also very keen to raise awareness of breast cancer and the importance of regularly checking yourself, which is why I want to share the funds.

“On behalf of the Dubz Outlaws, which is also going to run a national online raffle for the charities, I’d like to thank Winfields, its staff and customers. The manager invited us to use its facilities, gave us raffle prizes and a discount code to use in store. Many customers also bought drinks, cakes and raffle tickets and had a look round our vehicles.”

Bev is mum to Gemma, 29, Harry, 22, and Sam, 20, and Gemma has just bought her own VW campervan with her partner. Their plan is to one day go travelling in their van and explore different countries.

Bev added: “We are also hoping to go abroad with our van as well as exploring other parts of the UK.”

 ?? ?? ●»Bev Small’s campervan and (inset) Bev with partner Darren
●»Bev Small’s campervan and (inset) Bev with partner Darren

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