THIS Friday, March 8 is a very special day for me.

Fifteen years ago, on this day I was having a nasty cancerous growth removed from my colon.

A brilliant surgeon called Mr Ian Bain did the deed and I will always be massively thankful to him and all the wonderful staff at the University Hospital of North Durham.

It all started with a pulmonary embolism (clot in the lung) on November 8 the previous year. I asked to be checked out for bowel cancer as a lovely female friend had a clot in her lung and sadly died of bowel cancer six months later. She saved my life!

Mr Bain told me he did not think I needed chemotherapy, but it was there for me if I wanted.... I wanted it!

I did 30 weeks of chemo. Mr Bain said I had an 80 per cent chance of lasting five years.

I am so pleased he was wrong.

I now spend my days making bespoke sledges mostly for charities and have now made 650 and raised a bob or two.

I am sure having a hobby helps enormously. I will be 76 in a month and totally love my life.

Supreme thanks to my lovely wife of 52 years Carol who has done sterling work to keep me sane.

Malcolm Rolling, Carrville