Ampthill declares war on prostate cancer
A small Bedfordshire town has gone to war against prostate cancer, the most common cancer among men and the third biggest killer in Britain.
Statistics suggest that 834 residents of Ampthill will be diagnosed with the disease over their lifetime.
So now, the whole Georgian market town is being mobilised in an attempt to raise £20,000 over the summer.
All the seven pubs are already involved in active fund-raising, along with the local Wingfield Club.
And an organising committee, which meets monthly to co-ordinate activities, has been set up under the name “Ampthill versus Prostate Cancer”.
Local businessman Steve Butler, 63, who is liaising with the national charity Prostate Cancer UK, said: “We want to get all the town’s shops and businesses on side, along with sports clubs, youth groups and other organisations.
“We are also contacting local GPs and health professionals. In fact we hope to involve everybody in the town – to raise awareness of prostate cancer and also to hit our £20,000 target by the end of September.
“There will be all sorts of fund-raising activities around the town – from selling Prostate UK pin badges to holding darts tournaments or golf days-out.
“It’s not a competition to see who can raise the most. It doesn’t matter whether you raise £10 or £1,000. It’s about the town working together for a very worthy cause.
“One in seven men will develop prostate cancer in their lifetime and nearly 12,000 die from it every year. So most of us will have a father, brother, relative or friend who is affected.”
The Ampthill versus Prostate Cancer campaign developed after three regulars met up in the town’s Engine and Tender pub for a few pints.
They had the madcap idea of raising money for charity by buying clapped-out old British cars and doing a Brexit Tour of eight EU countries in four days.
“After that, things mushroomed,” said Steve. “Ampthill might only be a small town but it has a unique community spirit and we’re hoping to tap into that, with everybody coming together.
“So we are very confident that we will raise £20,000 before we wrap up the campaign with a black tie, end-of-term. slap-up dinner for 250 people.”
Harriet Argyle, of Prostate Cancer UK, welcomed the campaign. She said: “The Ampthill versus Prostate Cancer campaign is absolutely amazing!
“Steve Butler has been an incredible support, as has everyone in Ampthill coming together.
“We are extremely grateful for everything they are doing to raise vital awareness and funds.”
Anybody wanting to help or get involved should contact either Steve or Engine&Tender landlord Ken Maguire on 01525 403319. Alternatively call in any of the town’s pubs and speak to the landlords.