BEST FOOT FOWARD: Astley Fenwick is planning to run a smile a day during March to raise cash for Prostate Cancer Research and awareness of the disease
BEST FOOT FOWARD: Astley Fenwick is planning to run a smile a day during March to raise cash for Prostate Cancer Research and awareness of the disease

A PROSTATE cancer survivor from the dale plans to jog a mile a day during March for charity despite suffering from the effects of long Covid.

Astley Fenwick, from Stainton, was an active member of Teesdale Athletics Club, completing 10k runs and half-marathons, before being affected by a series of health issues.

The first came in 2019 when he had a turps operation (transurethral resection of the prostate) after the gland became enlarged.

Mr Fenwick, a lay minister at St Mary’s Church, in Barnard Castle, said: “Following the operation they take the scrapings, which I didn’t know, and look at them for cancer.

“Out of 132 pieces, one had a cancer cell in it.”

Doctors monitored him through a series of blood tests and a year later became concerned when his PSA count started to go up. A CAT scan then revealed that he had a tumour.

Mr Fenwick said: “They did a biopsy and said it was quite aggressive and would have to get me sorted straight away.”

He was put on hormone treatment to subdue testosterone production – which feeds the cancer – and he was referred to James Cook University Hospital where he received radiotherapy five days a week, for four-and-a-half weeks.

Mr Fenwick, a former GSK employee, said: “I have a regular six-monthly PSA check now and it is still very low, so I am quite fortunate.

“I just thank God that it was caught.”

Less fortunate were two of his former work colleagues who only showed symptoms at a stage when it was too late for treatment and both have since died.

Then, before Christmas in 2021, Mr Fenwick came down with Covid, before the release of the vaccine.

He said: “It was awful because my wife, Miriam, got Covid at the same time and it was Christmas.

“We had arranged to have Christmas lunch with the family, but we just spent Christmas Day by ourselves, poorly, looking after each other.”

He contracted the illness again six months later, but was less impacted, having by then had the vaccination. However, the effects linger.

Mr Fenwick said: “It knocks all the energy out of you altogether and when I do start running I get breathless. I can run-walk, which means you run for 30 seconds and walk for a minute.

“I saw this [Jog A Mile A Day in March challenge] on Facebook and I thought, you know I’ve had prostate cancer in 2019.”

Fortunately, Stainton is fairly flat so Mr Fenwick believes he will be able to jog slowly along the length of the village and back home, which fortuitously, is exactly a mile.

He is raising money for Prostate Cancer Research which funds both cutting-edge and relevant research that has a direct impact on patients.

The retired engineer, who now works as an energy consultant, also hopes that by sharing his experience it will raise awareness among other men.

He said: “I urge men to go for a PSA test – it is only a blood test.”

The NHS offers the test free to men over 50.

Anyone who would like to support Mr Fenwick’s fundraising efforts can do so by going online to and searching for Astley Fenwick.