John Taylor pictured above with a rugby legend! Former Wigan Warriors, Great Britain and Sydney Roosters star, and now Sky Sports Rugby League commentator, Phil Clarke. Sky Sports Rugby League shares his experience of using his sporting interests and connections to help raise awareness among rugby fans.
"I've been a Prostate Cancer UK volunteer for about eighteen months now and as a massive rugby fan, I am thrilled to see the big announcement by Rugby League Cares, who are the charity arm of The Rugby Football League, of their tie-up with Prostate Cancer UK.
After initial training for awareness talks I was able to arrange some awareness material for the Leeds Rhinos Rugby League team and also to give awareness talks at Warrington Wolves Rugby League club to about fifty blokes. Then I had to give another talk to about fifty ladies who worked for a big pharmaceutical company in Chester. The talks had to be tailored to suit the audience and I wasn’t quite sure which one was more intimidating!!
In addition I was put in touch on several occasions with guys who had contracted the disease, for one-on-one chats, sometimes with their wives, sometimes alone.
I even had to help a struggling St Helens RL fan, which was interesting as I’m an ardent Wigan Warriors fan, but when it comes to prostate cancer, personal loyalties have to be set aside!! We did joke about our deep rivalry afterwards.
The whole volunteering exercise has helped me both understand the disease more and importantly give something back to others in spreading the awareness message which is fundamental.
Working with the people from the Rugby League community has been great for me as a fan, and to meet and get involved with the guys from Sky Sports Superleague, who have been closely involved with increasing awareness through Sky TV and Rugby League, is beltin', as we say in these parts. I was even interviewed on Sky Sports before the Widnes v Wigan Superleague game, and was able to talk about Prostate Cancer UK and the Rugby League setting out to increase awareness together.
But I don’t just work with the Rugby League. It's always satisfying to collect cheques for the money which has been raised for Prostate Cancer UK, and I've had to collect a couple and say a few words. The most satisfying, for me, was from a small church club in Lostock near Preston where they had collected around £25,000! A fantastic achievement. The local Football Club is Preston North End and their manager was there and spoke well about Prostate Cancer UK and his personal involvement, having lost a close friend to the disease. The whole day was a celebration of what their community had achieved for the charity. A brilliant effort."
If you have sports connections to organisations, clubs or celebrities you think might be useful, we’d like to hear from you. We’re particularly interested in hearing from people with connections in Ipswich and Exmouth to help promote our Saxon and Jurassic Classic cycle rides: email firstname.lastname@example.org