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Prostate Cancer UK Memorial moves to Eldon Square

Leading men’s health charity, Prostate Cancer UK, has brought its poignant remembrance structure ‘The Prostate Cancer Memorial’  to Eldon Square and can be found on St. Andrew’s Way (outside of Monki).

The Memorial itself was inspired by a South Tyneside love story which was cut short by prostate cancer. Michelle and Doug Blythe, who grew up in Jarrow and South Shields respectively, were married for 42 years before avid Newcastle FC supporter Doug passed away in 2017.

The family honoured Doug’s memory in many ways, from daughter Gemma taking on Prostate Cancer UK’s March for Men, to son Bill setting up a fundraising page and raising over £3,000. However, in the search for a more permanent tribute to husband, father and grandfather Doug, and one that would help directly support and fund lifesaving research, the Prostate Cancer Memorial was born.

“I miss Doug terribly but I’m so lucky to have my family supporting me. I’ll always keep his memory alive, and having his name engraved on the Memorial feels like such a special way to do that.”  Michelle said. “It has been very emotional watching the Memorial travel around the UK, and seeing on social media families traveling to London, Nottingham and Birmingham to welcome it and see their loved one’s names remembered. My family and I are delighted to see it come to Newcastle and receive a warm Geordie welcome from the community.”

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men. According to data from (NCARS)*, in Tyne and Wear alone over 5,000 men are living with the disease, over 824 men are diagnosed and over 225 men die from the disease a year. For the whole of the UK this rises to over 11,500 men dying from prostate cancer each year, nearly a quarter (22%) of the capacity of St James’ Park.

Discussing the hereditary dangers he now faces, Ferdinand said: “I’ll admit prostate cancer wasn’t on my radar a decade ago; I knew nothing about it at all. But now I do as it has struck my family. I’ve been in a privileged position as a footballer, coach and now director of football, but I’m also a son and a father and want to be a role model outside the beautiful game. If men want to be macho, they shouldn’t walk away from a problem; they should face it head on. It’s also important to remember and celebrate those men lost to his disease. And this Memorial is the perfect way to do that while raising awareness of Prostate Cancer UK’s long term ambition to stop this disease in its tracks.”

Ferdinand’s former Magpies teammate and England midfielder Rob Lee has also seen his dad affected by the disease. He said: “One in eight men will be affected and if, like me, you have a family link then your risk is even higher. That’s why I’ve long supported the work of Prostate Cancer UK and it’s so important that we continue to raise awareness across the UK – and funds to help beat this disease.

I had so many happy times in the North East and still have so many mates in the area. Hearing that my former teammate Les has also been affected brings home the prevalence of the disease, so I’m delighted to join him in supporting Prostate Cancer UK as the Prostate Cancer Memorial arrives in Newcastle. It’s a fantastic structure and pays a fitting tribute to those lost to the disease.”

By touring the memorial across the UK, Prostate Cancer UK aim to raise much-needed awareness about prostate cancer, whilst providing an opportunity for people to see their loved one’s name engraved on the memorial. The striking ten-foot tall, mirrored steel pyramid is a dazzling display of all the husbands, dads, uncles and grandads lost all too soon, featuring around 500 names engraved on its sides. This number is increasing as the memorial tours the UK and more people purchase a name engraving to celebrate a life lost to prostate cancer.

Nicola Tallett, Director of Fundraising and Supporter Engagement said: “The Prostate Cancer Memorial stands as a symbol of remembrance, dedicated to all the men we’ve lost to prostate cancer. The memorial has been welcomed in London, Nottingham and Birmingham, and we are delighted to now bring it to Newcastle. Through the memorial’s tour across the country, Prostate Cancer UK are raising awareness of the most common cancer in men, whilst providing a space for family and friends to see their loved one’s name engraved and remember those now departed. We want to see a future where men’s lives are not limited by prostate cancer, and we know men and their loved ones feel the same. Together we can stop men dying, by funding lifesaving research to support our sons, husbands, dads, uncles, and grandads. Men, we are with you.”

Tania Kelly, Marketing Manager at Eldon Square, said of the memorial: “We are honoured to be hosting this moving memorial to all those who have lost their lives to prostate cancer. Local stories like Michelle and Doug’s should be remembered, as they reflect the experience of so many who have lost someone they love to this terrible disease.

If we can help to raise awareness and support Prostate Cancer UK in their endeavour to strike down this illness whilst also supporting those it has already affected, we are incredibly proud to do so.”

Moving from Birmingham to Newcastle as part of a UK tour, the eye-catching installation will be in Newcastle from 14 July to 13 September, dedicated to all those who have passed away from prostate cancer.

To find out more about Prostate Cancer UK and donate visit: https://prostatecanceruk.org/get-involved/donate