25 Mar 2014

When John Fraser leads out the teams at Wembley on Sunday (March 30) his hardest task will be to stop and take stock.

The 73-year-old is guest of honour for the clash between Chesterfield and Peterborough United, and his propensity for walking has brought him from the Isle of Wight to the home of football.

Prostate Cancer UK is the Official Charity Partner of The Football League and Fraser was hand-picked to perform the key task in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy final after a long association with the organisation.

One of the 250,000 men in the UK affected by the disease, the intrepid Fraser will next week begin a sixth annual Island stroll, as he leads a deputation of natives on a three-hour jaunt starting and finishing in Yarmouth.

"It was my wife Ann who suggested that, as we live in a lovely part of the Island, why not get a few people together and do a walk locally,” said John, who has raised more than £24,000 for the charity. “We started with 60 the first year and last year we were up to 120. This year, who knows?"

Fully-fledged as an Islander these days, the Dagenham-born Fraser relocated across the Solent in 2002, shortly after being diagnosed with prostate cancer.

13 years later and after spells of radiotherapy, cryosurgery and hormone injections his passion for making a difference is unrelenting from offering shoe-shines in 2003 to his ever-expanding treks.

"When I was diagnosed with prostate cancer, I heard the specialist say the word ‘cancer’ and assumed that the end was nigh," said a man who lists baker, model and television extra on as varied a curriculum vitae as you are likely to see.

"I thought it was time to get my house in order, say goodbye to my family and friends and my grandchildren, whom I would not see grow up. I cried a lot and was a bit of a wreck.

"Fortunately, my wife was with me and heard the specialist say that they had discovered the cancer early and that there were treatments. I contacted Prostate Cancer UK’s Specialist Nurses. They listened, were caring and gave me all the information I needed. I had my treatment and I’m still here smiling and enjoying life, and it’s mind-blowing that I’ve been invited to come to Wembley as guest of honour."

Supporters can back John on his latest walk via John's Justgiving page

Prostate Cancer UK – the Official Charity Partner of The Football League – is forming one of the most formidable teams in the country: Men United. They need your tactical know-how to help the team beat a disease that kills 10,000 men a year.

Anyone with concerns about prostate cancer can call Prostate Cancer UK’s Helpline on 0800 074 8383 (9am – 6pm Monday to Friday, 9am – 8pm on Wednesdays).

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