Tommy Charlton is backing Prostate Cancer UK’s first Walking Football Month this September
Tommy Charlton is urging walking football clubs across the UK to step up and organise a festival of football as part of Prostate Cancer UK’s first ever Walking Football Month this September.
The leading men’s health charity is calling on clubs to play their part in walking football’s biggest month to raise vital funds, and awareness of the most common cancer in men.
And Tommy – the younger brother of Manchester United legend Bobby and Leeds United icon Jack – has pledged his support to the exciting initiative after becoming the third Charlton sibling to make his international bow following an appearance for England’s over-60s walking football side earlier this year.
“I know first-hand the effect prostate cancer can have on men and their families, so it’s fantastic that Prostate Cancer UK is launching the first ever Walking Football Month,” said the 72-year-old, who plays for Rotherham-based club, the Mature Millers.
“Walking Football has had such a positive impact on me – you get fitter, you start thinking a lot more, your mindset changes and you meet lots of lovely people who think the same as you – what more could you ask for?”
But Tommy isn’t backing Walking Football Month purely because of his love for the sport. The Rotherham native was diagnosed with prostate cancer in May, and believes that the walking football community can play a big part in fighting back against the disease, which affects one in eight men in the UK in their lifetime.
“I’ve got high hopes that I’ll conquer my prostate cancer, but the walking football community must come together to support every man, and their families, affected by this terrible disease,” said Charlton, who is an ambassador for the Walking Football Association (WFA).
“One man dies from prostate cancer every 45 minutes in the UK, which is a shocking statistic, but one that we can help turn around. So, I’m calling on all Walking Football clubs to do their bit and to host their own football festival or tournament this September. With your help, we can help to stop prostate cancer being a killer.”
Established in 2011, the rapidly-growing sport now boasts 35,000 active players and more than 1,100 clubs across the country. Charlton starred in the sport’s inaugural international fixture in May, guiding England to a 3-0 victory over Italy at Brighton & Hove Albion’s AMEX Stadium.
James Beeby, Director of Fundraising at Prostate Cancer UK, said: “The power of football consistently helps us reach out to men and their friends and families, and we are excited to launch Walking Football Month this September.
“Walking Football Month will play a valuable role in raising awareness and encouraging men to know their risk of prostate cancer, as well as raising funds for vital research.
“It will also offer us an incredible opportunity to transform public awareness of a disease which affects one in eight men, and reaching them early will make a life-saving difference.
“Our aim is to reach as many men as possible, and encourage them to take responsibility of their health. We hope that through Walking Football Month, we can help change the game for men and their loved ones.”
Many people are unaware that prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men. One man will die from prostate cancer every 45 minutes in the UK. That’s over 11,000 men a year. Based on current trends, if we ignore prostate cancer and do nothing, this number will rise to over 14,500 men a year by 2026.
To register and receive a free fundraising and awareness pack for your club, or for more information, visit prostatecanceruk.org/walkingfootball.
Also, to show your support and get a Prostate Cancer UK ‘Man of Men’ pin badge to wear with pride, text BADGE to 70004 to donate £5* and help stop prostate cancer being a killer. For information about the badge and the charity’s work in football, visit prostatecanceruk.org/whostheman.
* Text costs £5 plus network charge. Prostate Cancer UK receives 100% of your donation. Obtain bill payers permission. Customer care 0800 082 1616. Charity No 1005541.