LAST Thursday, March 8, I celebrated 13 years since my bowel cancer operation at the University Hospital of North Durham. I was given an 80 per cent chance of lasting five years by my surgeon.

I suffered a pulmonary embolism (clot in the lung) five months previous to my operation and I shouted quite loudly that a good friend and work colleague had suffered a similar embolism and had died of bowel cancer seven months later.

With all cancers time is of the essence. My daughter who is a very positive police officer brought me Lance Armstrong’s book “It’s not about the bike” to read in hospital.

Lance Armstrong found a lump on his testicle while in the USA and almost next day had his cancerous testicle removed. That is the way to treat cancer.

I had a five month wait! I am still ‘gannin’ though and I must say that having a hobby has helped me enormously, taking my mind off things.

I have now made 560 odd Malcolm Sledges and raised quite a few bob for various good causes.

It has helped me hugely and quite a few Northern Echo personnel have a sledge or two made by me. It was brilliant to see lots of them being used in this winter’s snow.

Malcolm Rolling, Carrville