Former Liverpool and Bristol Rovers defender Nick Tanner tells us how his late father's generosity has spurred him on to raise thousands of pounds for Prostate Cancer UK, and why he just had to join Jeff Stelling on his epic March for Men when it arrives in Bristol next month.
My dad, Dennis, was a great man. He was liked by everyone and would always go out of his way to help people – which is a trait I’ve tried to carry forward with me.
Dad wasn’t really a sporty person, but he was very proud when I signed for Bristol Rovers and Liverpool [who Nick is pictured playing for below]. He kept a scrapbook of all the games I played in, which I still look through today.
After he was diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer and sadly taken from us in 2013, I wanted to try and help as many people and charities as I can – just as my dad would have wanted.
So far I’ve held three fundraising events for Prostate Cancer UK, where fans get to meet and greet legendary former players from Liverpool FC, and the next is a meet-and-greet with my old boss and Liverpool legend Graeme Souness on Friday 8 September in Bristol.
Recently, my uncle, Roger, was also diagnosed with prostate cancer. So when I heard that Jeff Stelling’s March for Men was coming through my hometown of Bristol and stopping at the first professional football club I played for, I knew I had to lace up my walking boots and join him.
Nick, third from left, with our Match Day volunteers
To me it’s so important that the football family also comes together to help stop prostate cancer being a killer. Football is a worldwide language with millions of followers so every club should be involved at all levels in my opinion.
I wear my ‘Man of Men’ pin badge with great pride as it reminds me of my dad and the brave struggle he fought against prostate cancer. I know that because I have a family history of prostate cancer down both lines, that that puts me at a higher risk. So I’ve recently had a PSA test done by my doctor, which fortunately came back all clear.
My mum, Mary, brother Martyn and son William [pictured above as a child with Dennis] and all our close friends and family are all very supportive of my fundraising efforts. As a family we’ve pulled together to honour my dad’s memory. I hope that the money I raise will go towards research to find a cure for prostate cancer.
I know that my dad would be very proud of what I’ve done since his passing. He’s truly missed by all of us and not a day goes by when he’s not in my thoughts.