Robert Copland – Dumfries Buddy
Born in the parish of Closeburn in 1942 I was brought up within a hard working family during the hard times of the war by my father, a farm foreman, & my mum, a housewife who did her best with three of us to look after, me the older brother to Anne and Dorothy.
By 1953 my parents had the opportunity to take on the tenancy of a smallholding at Midlocharwoods, where Jessie & I still live today, our six young grandchildren visiting regularly, a busy but pleasurable life!
My primary schooling at Gatelawbridge seems a long time ago, however, my secondary school was Wallace Hall Academy and I was a rectory boy for nearly four years. The teachers were very firm but truly educational and rectory life was, on hindsight, fair although it didn’t seem so at the time.
Married life started at Ruthwell church in 1989 and I’m delighted to say that Jessie and I have three of a family, our daughter Jacqueline, stepson Colin and step daughter Julie.
Working life has been very varied, from farm work and lorry driving to owning a haulage firm and also an animal feed business and while earning a living is important, I’ve had a fair share of interests along the way, including horses, charitable work and the Dumfries and Galloway Vintage Machinery club that I was a founder member of and have been involved with since 1976.
But without doubt, ploughing has been my greatest hobby, starting off in 1954 at the age of twelve at the Dumfries and Kirkcudbrightshire Ploughing Association’s, South West Scotland championship event where I came third. Getting a rosette was fantastic but I was determined to be better the following year and I was !.
The finest moment though, was when I represented Scotland in the European Vintage Championships in Denmark in 2000, where I was sixth out of twenty six, a very happy memory that will stay with me forever.
I am a Prostate Cancer Survivor, the obvious symptoms for me being too many visits to the loo during bedtime hours. However, a simple blood test in August 2018 resulted in confirmation of Prostate Cancer, which I must say was attended to very promptly by the NHS, firstly in Dumfries and then at the Western General Hospital in Edinburgh.
My diagnosis was considered by the consultants to be treatable by Radiotherapy and this I eventually agreed to, so in March 2019 when my treatment started, I opted for the offer of accommodation in the Pentland Lodge of the Western General which was first class. I couldn’t thank all the specialist staff and in-house (Lodge Staff) enough for their care.
While there, I went to the Maggie’s Centre and the small church/chapel every day. Yes I had Prostate Cancer but I paid a visit to these places as there was always somebody worse off than myself that just needed, (I felt in some way) a comforting conversation or a prayer. Even today I still have people that I made feel at ease contact me regularly.
When Prostate Cancer was confirmed I had a P.S.A. reading of 26.7 and now after treatment and the last test in September 2019 the reading is much reduced, not the best it could be, however I am feeling very well within myself.
As has been said by others, it is a fact that men don’t want to speak about their health problems for some reason, Prostate Cancer being one and when I heard that a local group had been launched, calling themselves Prostate Buddies D&G, I decided to attend one of their monthly meetings to see what they could offer. The guys who run the local monthly meetings in the Dumfries Baptist Church Centre talk very openly about their conditions, their treatment & post treatment and I, along with all the others who attend, find myself opening up too and able to talk freely about my fears and anxieties surrounding Prostate Cancer & Prostate Disease and the treatments that are offered.
After attending a second meeting I was honoured to be invited to be a Buddy and this I accepted with no second thoughts. I want to help where I can, so if my input, however small, may assist other sufferers on the road to recovery, I am here to speak to you at all times.
I cannot thank my family, local Minister and many friends enough for their very valued support over the last year or so and would have struggled without them.
I finish “my story” by saying, “if you don’t feel just right; don’t be afraid to speak to your doctor or at least one of the Prostate Buddies D&G”: www.prostatebuddiesdandg.org.uk