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Friends organise North Hop for Neil beer and music festival


By Kyle Ritchie

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FRIENDS have rallied round a former Elgin car salesman who has been diagnosed with an extremely rare terminal cancer.

Neil Bremner is determined to stay positive despite being diagnosed with an extremely rare cancer.
Neil Bremner is determined to stay positive despite being diagnosed with an extremely rare cancer.

At the end of last year Neil Bremner (43) was told by doctors he had Leiomyosarcoma in both his lungs.

An aggressive form of the disease with no cure, it means it is expected Mr Bremner only has months to live.

However, the former car salesman is determined to live what time he has left to the full and three of his friends have organised a festival to raise money for him and his family.

He said: "It is such a rare and aggressive cancer nobody knows how long I have left.

"An older person might have only three months. As I am younger and fitter I might have more but nobody knows.

"I was offered treatment but there was only a small chance it might extend my life maybe an extra two months and make me extremely ill, so I decided not to do that.

"There have been some dark times and it has hit my family really hard.

"However we are determined to make the most of our time together and live life to the full."

Leiomyosarcoma is a rare cancer that starts in smooth muscles.

A smaller version of the North Hop Festival has been organised to support Neil and his family.
A smaller version of the North Hop Festival has been organised to support Neil and his family.

Doctors believe it started in Mr Bremner's heart and spread to his lungs.

Mr Bremner moved to Banff five years ago with his family, wife Sarah and daughters Kaleigh (14) and Dacey (12), after they fell in love with the area.

He is originally from Fort William and lived in the Strathspey area. He worked as a car salesman for Hawco Volkswagen in Elgin for 18 years.

It was through his work there that he met friends Mark Mair, chairman of the charity and aviation and science museum Morayvia at Kinloss, and Michelle Russell who organises the food, drink and music festival North Hop.

Mr Bremner has been involved with the festival since its inception and through attending that he also became friends with STV reporter Nicola McAlley.

To support the family the trio are organising North Hop for Neil, which will be held at Morayvia in Kinloss on Saturday, March 21.

The fundraiser will feature beer, gin, cocktails, food and music throughout the day from 2pm-8pm.

Attending will be local distillery El-Gin, new brewery Dog Falls Brewing Co, and eatery Bridge45.

Mr Mair said: "We wanted to do something to raise money for Neil and his family.

"With the life expectancy he has this will enable them to make the most of their time together.

"I got to know him through Hawco at Elgin and we became friends. He is such a fantastic guy.

"He has been a great supporter of the North Hop Festival and Morayvia, so we thought it was fitting to hold a smaller version of the event for him."

North Hop was created to raise the awareness and love of craft beer and everything that goes with it, and put the Highlands firmly on the map through a series of taster and pop-up events and festivals. This has developed into a whole host of events and festivals across Scotland showcasing the best food, drink and music it has to offer.

Morayvia was formed in 2011 to establish an interactive science and technology centre in Moray. One of its main aims is to record and commemorate the history of military aviation in the region at its hub in Kinloss.

Mr Bremner said he was overwhelmed when he heard the event had been organised for him.

He added: "Im so honoured, happy and proud my friends would organise an event like this for me.

"I've had great support from them, all my family, and everybody at Hawco.

"Nothing will stop me smiling and I will be smiling to the very end."

Tickets for the event can be purchased at www.eventbrite.co.uk by searching for North Hop for Neil.


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