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Happy Past ( and Hope for Future

Happy Past ( and Hope for Future. Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England), December 21, 2005

Byline: By Gayle Tomlinson

It is one of Tyneside's most nostalgic pictures ( boys playing cricket in the back lanes of 1950s Benwell, in Newcastle.

One 11-year-old caught in action is mesothelioma sufferer Arthur Tiffin.

This Chronicle photo shows Arthur in happier days as he played in the back lane between what used to be Helen Street and Joan Street, in Benwell.

Today we show Arthur, 52, now living in Walbottle, back in the same lane, reliving his memories before life-extending chemotherapy treatment.

Arthur was one of six men highlighted by the Chronicle's Give Us a Chance Campaign, fighting for cancer drug Alimta to help extend their lives.

Arthur has asbestos-related mesothelioma, after working with the deadly material in the engineering industry.

He was told by the NHS he would have to pay pounds 24,000 for the treatment to enable him to live to see his son's February wedding.

The Chronicle collected more than 2,500 signatures asking the Northern Cancer Network (NCN) to make Alimta available here.

The NCN has now approved the drug and sufferers can get the drug on the NHS. But Arthur had already been accepted for the medication at St Bartholomew's Hospital in London, a specialist mesothelioma centre.

Arthur said: "I know this treatment is going to help me to live for at least another year. I'll be able to see my son married and, hopefully, I'll be able to get on to trials for other drugs."

Arthur recalled that childhood playing in Benwell's back lanes.

Many of the streets are now demolished but the alley where the original photograph was taken still exists.

He was an only child to his fitter dad Arthur and cleaner mum Winnie Tiffin, and lived on Armstrong Road until 1963.

He spent his summer playing cricket and his winter sledging down the terraced streets towards Scotswood Road.

Arthur added: "No-one then was poor, because we all lived in Benwell. No-one was starved."

"I don't remember a photographer being there, but it's definitely me in the picture.

"I don't know the names of the other people in the picture, but I recognise their faces."

Arthur yesterday had his first treatment of Alimta in London's St Bartholomew's Hospital.