We caught up with the former BBC Breakfast presenter and Chairboys fan at Adams Park, where he gave a pre-match speech in memory of Howard Kennedy after the club legend's recent death from prostate cancer.
Bill Turnbull is a man who knows all there is to know about Wycombe Wanderers.
The former BBC Breakfast presenter has been a regular at Adams Park for 17 years and even co-hosts the club’s match-day commentary. So he – like thousands of his fellow Wanderers supporters – was saddened to hear of Kennedy’s death last month.
“Howard played at No. 8 for Wycombe, and was diagnosed with prostate cancer five years ago and died at the age – much too young – of 66,” says Bill, who paid a moving tribute [pictured below] before the former Blues midfielder’s son and grandson joined him on the pitch ahead of the Wanderers’ clash with Southend United.
“Today was an opportunity for his family to carry the ball out to the centre spot and get the game started, and was an opportunity for us to think about Prostate Cancer UK and the progress we need to make with this disease.”
And a club at the forefront of raising vital awareness are last Saturday’s visitors, who are proudly sporting Prostate Cancer UK on their shirts this term.
“I think Southend have done a really wonderful thing,” says Bill. “It’s an important charity anyway, but particularly for football fans, most of whom are men.
“One man in eight gets it so we need to get the message across that if they have any of the symptoms, they should go and see a doctor and get cleared, if nothing else.”
Bill Turnbull, 62, made headlines when he went public about his advanced prostate cancer diagnosis in March. Since then, he has stepped out of the media spotlight to focus on his health and has spent the year taking solace in family, friends – and football.
I think it’s really important to stay positive – that’s part of the treatment, really. You can’t let this disease get on top of you
“The great thing about football is it does take you out of yourself,” he says. “You're focussed solely on what is going on on the pitch and whether it’s going well or going badly – you just forget about everything else for a while. And that’s a great blessing.
“I’ve had wonderful support from my family, particularly from my wife. From friends as well, and people I’ve never met. Everywhere I go people say ‘how are you?’ and they seem interested and concerned, which is wonderful and helps.
“I think it’s really important to stay positive – that’s part of the treatment, really. You can’t let this disease get on top of you because psychology has a lot to do with it. My determination is to treat it like a long-term disease and to see what we can do with it through the coming years.
“One thing I’m not going to let it do is get me down because then it wins. And I’m not going to let it win.”
Photos courtesy of www.snapitnow.co.uk