Gyro pilot Norman’s bowel cancer mission

Norman Surplus is pictured arriving back home in Larne.
Norman Surplus is pictured arriving back home in Larne.

Daredevil gyrocopter pilot Norman Surplus is continuing to fundraise for Bowel Cancer UK with a series of talks on his round-the-world adventure.

Now home after his 27,000-mile odyssey, Norman, who survived bowel cancer, is determined to reach his £10,000 target while educating local people on the disease.

Norman, who set 17 world records during his epic five-year voyage, has so far raised around £5000 for Bowel Cancer UK.

“In 2003 I was diagnosed with bowel cancer and given a 40 per cent chance of living 18 months at the age of just 40,” Norman recalled.

“Those weren’t very good odds at all and I was unusually young, normally it would affect people in their 50s or 60s.

“They hit it hard, first with surgery and then with chemotherapy, which was gruelling and I recovered.”

Norman told how he was recovering in hospital when he was inspired to undertake his adventure.

“I saw a TV programme restoring an old auto-gyrocopter and it made me think of James Bond and Mad Max. I had done a lot of outdoor sport but they were all on land or in water. I had never done anything in the air so that was the last frontier of adventure for me.”

Norman will give a talk on his travels in Larne Town Hall on October 14 at 7.30pm, with proceeds going to Bowel Cancer UK. Tickets cost £5 and are payable on the door. Representatives from Bowel Cancer UK will also hold an information stall at the event, which is being organised by Larne Rotary Club but is open to the public.

Bowel Cancer UK paid tribute to Norman Surplus’s fundraising efforts on its behalf, and his continuing mission to inform local people of the risks of bowel cancer.

Northern Ireland Health Promotion & Fundraising Officer for Bowel Cancer UK Bernie McGarry said: “We’re very grateful to Norman for his amazing fundraising efforts, in particular his round-the-world gyrocopter challenge.

“Without dedicated people like him, Bowel Cancer UK couldn’t continue to do the vital work it does to save lives and improve the quality of life for all those affected by bowel cancer.”

According to Bowel Cancer UK’s website, more than 40,000 men and women are diagnosed with bowel cancer every year in the UK.

Bowel cancer is the fourth most common cancer in the UK behind breast, lung and prostate cancer.

People aged 60 to 74 are eligible for bowel cancer screening in Northern Ireland.

For more information, visit:

Norman is also hosting talks for groups in Cairncastle, Ballymoney and Kilkeel. To request a talk for a community group, contact Norman on