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, what his famous former teammates are doing to help, and why he's so proud to be joining another March for Men this summer.
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. And that starts with walking alongside an army of men and their loved ones. So I’ll be on a March for Men in Bristol this summer to honour his memory.
Last year, I had the privilege of walking with Jeff Stelling [pictured below with Nick] and many others from Weston-super-Mare to a place I know very well: the Memorial Ground, home of Bristol Rovers FC. It was an unforgettable day with some truly inspiring people. And I know the amazing people of Bristol and Liverpool will be out in force to support this most serious of causes during this year's March for Men, too.
I’ve also held several fundraising events for Prostate Cancer UK, where fans get to meet and greet my former teammates and legendary players from Liverpool FC, like Steve McMahon, Ronnie Whelan, Graeme Souness, Jan Molby and Ray Houghton. I’m hugely grateful to people for supporting these Q&A evenings and with more coming up, it will be great to raise more vital funds and awareness.
To me it’s so important that the football family comes together to help stop prostate cancer being a killer. Football is a worldwide language with millions of followers, so clubs can really play their part in spreading the message. Many managers have worn the Prostate Cancer UK ’Man of Men’ pin badge from the Premier League and EFL across the grassroots game. It’s an incredibly powerful way of showing your support.
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 seen my doctor and its important that men wise up and follow suit.
Recently, my uncle, Roger, was also diagnosed with prostate cancer. So this remains a very personal issue for me, and one incredibly close to home.
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.
Book tickets for Nick's next Q&A evening with Jan Molby and Ray Houghton on 8 June in Bristol.