A retired South Hams farmer who survived bowel cancer is hoping the lifesaving charity he founded sets a new world record later this month.

David Darke, from South Milton near Thurlestone, helped launch Bowel Cancer West 15 years ago after beating the disease.

BCW is the charity of the year at Devon County Show, which takes place from May 16 to May 18 at Exeter’s Westpoint showground.

And the charity is using the event to aim for a world record for the longest-ever chain of toilet roll tubes.

Dairy and sheep farmer Mr Darke is a former agricultural show judge in the UK, New Zealand and Kenya.

He said: “Raising awareness of Bowel Cancer is crucial. Too many people either aren’t aware of the symptoms of bowel cancer or choose to ignore them. As far as awareness of cancers go, it is one of the least spoken about in the UK.

“Our work is essential to ensure there is early detection for those who are diagnosed. If caught early, over 90% of cases can be treated successfully.

“The Devon County Show, with its huge and diverse audience, provides an ideal platform for us to carry out our work.”

Bowel Cancer West is inviting everyone attending the Show to take a decorated toilet roll tube to add to the chain.

“People of all ages can be affected by bowel cancer, and people of all ages can bring along their toilet roll tube – it can be funky, it can be fun, or it can be dedicated to someone,” said Mr Darke.

The Guinness World Record for the longest toilet roll chain stands at 9,208 metres, and was set in 2010.

Devon County Show Manager, Lisa Moore, commented: “Most of us know someone who has either had a scare or has been diagnosed with bowel cancer. I’m delighted the Devon County Show is able to support Bowel Cancer West and help them to achieve their objectives.”

The Devon County Show takes place on Thursday 16th Friday 17th and Saturday 18th May at Westpoint. Early bird tickets are now available to purchase at www.devoncountyshow.co.uk

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