Milking cows was bread and butter for farmer Gerald Beale for years.

But now the cancer survivor will undertake a 24-hour challenge to milk cows and raise funds for a charity close to his heart.

Mr Beale, 65, of Ferozeshah Road, Devizes, is raising money for Cancer Research UK in gratitude for the technology that saved his life.

In 2005, he was diagnosed with a rare form of kidney cancer that had killed his brother 15 years earlier.

He said: “I consider myself very lucky to be here after being told I had only two months to live and now I want to give something back to help other sufferers.”

Half the money Mr Beale raises will go to the Devizes Opportunity Centre where his grandson, Ethan, now six and a pupil at Bishops Cannings Primary School, was prepared for mainstream school.

Ethan has dwarfism and, as a result, has special physical educational needs.

Mr Beale will set out at 11am on March 6 on his 24-hour milking marathon, during which he expects to milk between 1,600 and 1,800 cows.

He will visit five farms in the area twice, for their morning and evening milking sessions – Iron Pear Tree Farm, Rowde; Manor Farm, Allington; Manor Farm, Avebury; Common Farm, Great Cheverell; and Townsend Farm, Poulshot.

Mr Beale farmed at South Farm, All Cannings, for many years but complemented his income by providing a milking service for several farmers in the area.

In 2005 he went to his doctor after he started coughing up blood. He said: “At first they thought it was TB but I was diagnosed with kidney cancer.

“My brother, Gordon, died of exactly the same thing 15 years before, so it did not sound good.

“I went into Great Western Hospital in Swindon, but I was transferred to Churchill Hospital in Oxford.

“I underwent some very serious surgery but they got it all and I didn’t need chemotherapy, for which I’m very grateful.

“I’ve been thinking for a year what I could do to give something back and, as I’ve always milked cows all my working life, the answer was obvious.”

Mr Beale has set himself a target of £1,000 and he has so far raised £300.

He can be sponsored online at Alternatively, there are sponsor forms at the reception desk at Wadworth, Devizes.

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