Meet the club that’s fighting prostate cancer

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Little Aston is a relatively small golf club situated in Sutton Coldfield within the English Midlands.

The club has its own blues band, consisting of five members, including club captain John Woods but unfortunately over the last year, two of the band’s members were diagnosed and treated with prostate cancer.

With 40% of the band suffering from the most common cancer in men, it unfortunately proves how prevalent the disease is at every golf club across the country. Statistics show that one man dies from prostate cancer every 45 minutes in the UK – that’s an estimated one man for every three holes of golf. With over 44,000 new cases being discovered every year, Prostate Cancer UK is aiming to reduce this alarming statistic.

Club captain Woods revealed that prostate cancer has affected his personal life away from the golf club and is the primary reason he selected Prostate Cancer UK as his captain’s charity.

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“Supporting Prostate Cancer UK is hugely important to me, both personally and on a generational thing actually," he said. "My father died from prostate cancer and it affected me. I went on a bit of a journey with him and then my godfather also died of it.

"Genetically, I’m probably disposed to that but then we go on to recently with the two blues band members, Simon Pettit and Paul Scalis, who were diagnosed and were treated for prostate cancer last year. If it hadn’t been for the PSA (Prostate Specific Antigen) test they might not have caught it they may not even be here now - or in a lot sorrier state than they are.”

052 John Little Aston 1

Golf clubs usually select their captains on a year-by-year basis but, at Little Aston, captains get a two-year stint as a result of the small membership. Aside from his personal reasons for selecting Prostate Cancer UK as his charity, Woods is aware of how important spreading awareness is at golf clubs.

“Golf clubs have the perfect demographic for a charity like Prostate Cancer UK to target as it normally affects over 50s. It’s a good place to raise awareness and money.

“I think it is essential that people are aware of their risk and go to their GP if they are concerned. There is lots of helpful information on the Prostate Cancer UK website and they even have specialist nurses who are available to speak to during the week.”

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Since taking up the role as captain, the club have invested in numerous fundraising exercises for Prostate Cancer UK, raising an estimated £10,000 over the course of two years.

“The Man of Men badge is quite striking, it does stand out and I think most of the members here now wear them, they’re all aware of it. We also have a small club here and everyone is aware of the cause and donates money towards the charity regularly.

"We also have the captain’s day where we have lunch and drinks but there’s a caveat, a donation has to made to Prostate Cancer UK if you are attending. It’s a good way of making some money for the charity.”

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On top of the fundraising efforts from the golf club and its members, it played host to one of Prostate Cancer UK’s end of season golf championship finals, which was one of five held across the UK towards the end of the season to thank their supporters.

“We were really proud to be able to have the charity and from all of the people who have fundraised over the year down at our club. It was brilliant and it meant a lot to us. It gave us a chance to show off Little Aston as well so it was a great day all round.”

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Having worked closely with Prostate Cancer UK for several years, Woods has nothing but positives to say about the way in which they conduct their efforts, and even revealed the blues band might make a return.

“Sadly with prostate cancer, everybody will know somebody that will be affected by the disease in their life. That’s why raising more awareness is crucial. The team at Prostate Cancer UK are great people to be around, and it is such an upbeat, positive charity that strives to raise awareness and help stop prostate cancer from being a killer.

“As for the blues band, The Bleeding Hearts, we will definitely see them back playing.”

To host a golf day for Prostate Cancer UK or choose them as your club’s charity for 2020 email golf@prostatecanceruk.org or visit prostatecanceruk.org/golf

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