Bernard saw active service in the Malayan Emergency and also worked in the Middle East, building an international port in the Gulf of Bahrain. After winning an eight month battle with throat cancer that left him unable to speak for a time, he was so grateful for what the doctors had done for him that he wanted to give something back. As well as undertaking a fundraising campaign that brought in more than £200,000, he joined Dr Chris Rowland in founding a pioneering cancer research centre – the Friends of the Oncology and Radiotherapy Centre Exeter or FORCE. He ran the centre, at the time one of only three in the world dedicated to improving the quality of life for cancer sufferers. Bernard combined his role as the charity’s co-ordinator and office supremo with a counselling role, drawing on his own experiences to help support patients. His philosophy was to care sometimes, relieve often, comfort always.