17 Jul 2017


A unique exhibition at next weekend’s Simmer Down Festival will unveil the prized possessions of a series of famous faces as they pledge their support to Prostate Cancer UK’s flagship Stronger Knowing More campaign.

The men’s health charity will be showcasing items of strength from the likes of LMA Member Chris Powell, Birmingham-born former England centre-back, Joleon Lescott, former Wolves goalkeeper, Matt Murray, and the first ever black player to play for England, Viv Anderson, in a bid to raise awareness of the increased risk of prostate cancer in black men.

The exhibition, which coincides with Ethnic Minority Cancer Awareness Month, will also showcase sentimental possessions from a number of men who have either been personally affected by prostate cancer, or family members who have lost loved ones to the disease in celebration of how black communities have found the strength to face prostate cancer in their lives. Its aim is to get people talking about the most common cancer in men and taking action. 

One in four black men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime and one in twelve will die from the disease. However, Prostate Cancer UK warns that over three quarters of black men (86%) are oblivious to the heightened danger they face, leaving them susceptible to being diagnosed at a late stage when the disease has already spread to other parts of the body.

Powell, who won five caps for England, managed Charlton Athletic and had coaching spells in the East Midlands with Leicester City and Derby County was recognised by his peers when winning the 2012 League One Manager of the Year at the League Manager's Association (LMA) Awards.

He donated his glass 'goldfish bowl', a prized possession he draws great strength from, to the exhibition as part of his continued support of the charity's work within the black community.

He said: "This is one of my most cherished football possessions and after enjoying a fruitful paying career this represents a proud moment in the next phase of my career.

"After an incredible season at Charlton Athletic, to be named as the best manager by your peers is something that means so much. This success came at the end of my first full season as a manager and is something I always reflect on when any self-doubt creeps in. At the time, and still now, there were only a small amount of black managers and coaches in the game. But my progress and the successes of my close friend Chris Hughton can hopefully inspire others.

"I'm honoured to be an ambassador for Prostate Cancer UK, a charity very close to my heart. As a black man, hearing the one on four statistic shocks me, and it's vital we continue to raise awareness among the black community."

Matt Murray has donated his play-off winning shirt from the 3-0 win against Sheffield United at Cardiff’s Millennium Stadium in May 2003, which saw the Molineux men promoted to the top-flight for the first-time in 19 years. Dubbed ‘the best goalkeeper England never had’ following his retirement through injury, Murray kept the shirt that he wore as a 22-year-old keeper in a man of the match performance against the Blades.

He said: “Prostate cancer is not an issue to be taken lightly. Last year I walked alongside Soccer Saturday legend, Jeff Stelling, during his almighty walking challenge in aid of Prostate Cancer UK. I was also proud to walk with my good friend and Wolves club doctor, Matt Perry, who was treated for the disease in 2014. Along the way we met many others with similar experiences and listened to their stories of determination, strength and survivorship.

“I’m delighted to be supporting Stronger Knowing More and shining a light on a disease that is all too often swept under the carpet and ignored – especially in the black community. I’m donating the shirt that I wore during the best performance of my career.

“During my time at Wolves it didn’t matter how nervous I was before a match, as soon as I put on my shirt I felt like I could take on anything. I hope this shirt brings others the strength and courage it brought me during that memorable match in 2003.”

Other celebrities donating items at this weekend’s exhibition include former England and Nottingham Forest defender, Viv Anderson, and former Birmingham City captain, Michael Johnson.

Prostate Cancer UK’s Stronger Knowing More campaign aims to inspire black men to face their risk of prostate cancer by having the courage to talk to their doctor and spread the word, so that the disease is picked up earlier and treated in time.  Celebrities that have already pledged their support include Benjamin Zephaniah, Linford Christie and David Haye.

It is not clear why black men face a higher than average risk of prostate cancer but it is widely thought that genetics could be an underlying factor. The PSA blood test is the first step towards diagnosis and black men are encouraged to start speaking to their GP about the test from the age of 45 – five years earlier than other men.

Tony Wong, Prostate Cancer UK’s Men at Risk Programme Manager said: “As a black man myself I am all too aware of the long-standing taboos that surround prostate cancer within our communities. Too many men continue to let pride get in the way of their health and it’s putting their lives at risk.

“We’re delighted to be at this year’s Simmer Down festival. Our exhibition will showcase stories of strength from celebrities, men living with prostate cancer and families who have lost loved ones to the disease. It’s a celebration of how black communities have found the strength to face prostate cancer in their lives.

“We’re calling on black men everywhere to find the strength to overcome any embarrassment and find out about their prostate cancer risk. If prostate cancer is caught early it can be successfully treated - a two minute chat with your GP could save your life.”

Prostate Cancer UK will be displaying its Stronger Knowing More exhibition from 12.30pm to 7.20pm at the Simmer Down Festival in Handsworth Park on Sunday 23 July 2017. Specialist Nurses will be on hand to provide information to any men with questions or concerns about the disease.

For further information visit: strongerknowingmore.org

For further details on the Simmer Down festival visit: simmerdownfestival.com

About Prostate Cancer UK

  • Prostate Cancer UK has a simple ambition – to stop men dying from prostate cancer.
  • As the number of men diagnosed with prostate cancer continues to rise (making it the most common of all cancers by 2030), now is the time to take control. Through shifting the science over the next 10 years to focus on radical improvements in diagnosis, treatment, prevention, and support, we will stop prostate cancer being a killer.
  • Ignoring prostate cancer won’t beat it, so join the fight.

Key Headline Statistics

  • More than 11,000 men die from prostate cancer in the UK each year – that's one man every hour.
  • It’s the most common cancer in men, with over 330,000 living with and after the disease in the UK.
  • Prostate cancer is set to become the most commonly diagnosed cancer of all in the UK by 2030 - which is why we must all act now to curb its power to kill.
  • Men over 50, black men and men with a family history of prostate cancer all face a higher than average risk of the disease.
  • Prostate cancer treatment often causes devastating, long term side-effects.  Incontinence and erectile dysfunction strike at the heart of what it means to be a man.
  • Anyone with concerns about prostate cancer may contact Prostate Cancer UK's Specialist Nurses in confidence on 0800 074 8383 or online via the Live Chat instant messaging service: www.prostatecanceruk.org/.
  • The Specialist Nurse phone service is free to landlines and open from 9am to 6pm Monday to Friday with late opening until 8pm on Wednesdays.
  • Visit prostatecanceruk.org now to help beat this disease.