Dave finds musical charity work is cancer therapy too

(left to right) Mike and Dave are fundraising for Weston Park Hospital Cancer Charity
(left to right) Mike and Dave are fundraising for Weston Park Hospital Cancer Charity

A FORMER Sheffield headteacher is using his musical prowess to raise money for Weston Park Hospital, where he is receiving treatment for prostate cancer.

Dave Markham is teaming up with a friend for a series of concerts after coming to terms with the “massive shock” of being diagnosed with the incurable condition.

“Music has always been a hobby of mine but now it’s a kind of therapy,” he said. “Hopefully by playing our fundraising gigs we can not only entertain people but raise some money for a fantastic cause.”

Dave, aged 56, who retired as head of Greystones Primary after his diagnosis, had always been fit and healthy.

A former marathon and fell runner, who has climbed Mount Kilimanjaro, he was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2010 at the Royal Hallamshire Hospital and had a radical prostatectomy – an operation to remove the prostate gland – in the hope that the cancer would be cleared from his body.

However, soon after his surgery, doctors discovered the cancer had spread to the lymph nodes outside the prostate.

The father-of-three from Stannington then underwent a course of radiotherapy at Weston Park Hospital in an attempt to stop the cancer from spreading further.

He now attends the hospital every three months for injections to control the cancer, as well as taking daily drugs to keep symptoms at bay.

Dave said: “Being diagnosed with cancer was a massive shock, particularly as I’d always been healthy and active.

“But once I’d had time to get my head around it, I started to look at it more positively. In the grand scheme of things, life is too short to dwell on situations like this.

“My attitude to life has very much always been ‘look forward and tomorrow will be better’.”

He is committed to fundraising for Weston Park Hospital Cancer Charity, which supports the hospital, by playing gigs with friend Mike Lydiat, from Hunters Bar, as TOFFEE, or ‘Two Old Fellas For Evening Entertainment’.

The duo, who have been friends for more than 20 years, will be performing monthly at the Shakespeare Pub on Gibraltar Street in Shalesmoor where they will be also be collecting for the charity. They also play at care centres and donate any fee to the charity.

Dave and Mike, also a former head teacher who taught in Sheffield and Derbyshire, have around 100 years of musical experience behind them and play music from the traditions of music hall, vaudeville, or comedy songs, and standards from the 1920s, 30s and 40s.

Dave said: “Weston Park Hospital really is a beacon in Sheffield. The whole team there has been fabulous and incredibly kind at a time when I felt down after my diagnosis.

“Spending time at the hospital is a very humbling experience and, with fundraising, there will be help for others living with cancer now or those who may be diagnosed in the future.”

Sarah Cross, fundraiser at the charity, said: “The way Dave is has taken on such a positive attitude despite his diagnosis is truly inspirational.”

The next gig is at the Shakespeare on March 12 from 8.30pm. The band is also available for any event. Visit www.docsworkshop.co.uk/toffee.html.