Stonham Barns Park, the Suffolk-based holiday, retail and leisure park, has been announced as the Official Main Sponsor of a charity founded to help save men’s lives from Prostate Cancer. The leisure group is backing The Errol McKellar Foundation (TEMF) which aims to raise awareness of Prostate Cancer and to encourage men over the age of 45 to get a PSA blood test.
Errol McKellar MBE is the Founder & Prostate Cancer survivor who has devised the MOT YOURSELF campaign.Errol’s cancer was diagnosed early and he has already saved many lives by encouraging men to volunteer themselves for blood tests for early detection. He hopes that the new national roll out of this commanding MOT Yourself message – starting in Suffolk and Essex – will save many more. He is supported by sponsorship from Stonham Barns Park which is helping raise funds to run mobile PSA blood-testing units across the UK. The business has also supplied a promotional van and all the design, marketing and PR materials it needs for the campaign launch. The mission is to fund a mobile PSA blood test vehicle to raise awareness of the disease.
Alan Forward, owner of Stonham Barns Park and Errol’s personal friend says: ‘Errol McKellar is a truly inspiring man with a powerful message.’
‘We are helping Errol and his team to roll out the MOT YOURSELF campaign through direct funding and by staging charity events at Stonham Barns Park as we see it is vital to save the lives of more men across the UK. Traditionally men do not look after themselves. They do not talk to each other or their partners about health issues. It’s time we started more conversations about prostate cancer to make sure every man keeps safe.’
The statistics make it all very real. 47 000 men are diagnosed every year. 11 000 of those will die from Prostate Cancer, that is one death every 45 minutes. The risk rate varies with ethnicity. 1 in 4 African and Caribbean men die compared to 1 in 8 white European men and 1 in 12 Asian men.
Errol has always been passionate about football with dreams of playing professionally and although he didn’t become a football player himself – he coached dozens of kids who did, including David Beckham, Sol Campbell, Ashley Cole and Ledley King.
Errol, by trade, is a car mechanic and managed his own garage and MOT centre in Hackney while coaching and enjoying family life. Suddenly, life changed dramatically for him when he discovered that he had Prostate Cancer by accident – he went to the doctor for a relatively mundane symptom and picked up a leaflet about Prostate Cancer – and decided to get tested. Says Errol, ‘I had two blood tests and a biopsy, followed by a scan. My doctor then told me that my prostate was covered in cancer. My wife Sharon gave me strength, she told me to face up to it like I would any challenge. And so, I did. My path changed from flight to fight.’
‘I went on to have my prostate removed and then needed radiotherapy. It is a journey but you have to be brave and push through it. As I was fighting the disease I realised how lucky I was to have had early detection. If you catch Prostate Cancer early enough – you have a higher chance of survival.’
‘You just need a positive mental attitude to beat it. People have the wrong idea about the initial test. It is just a blood test guys. So just make sure you get one. It’s all about getting yourself a prostate MOT in the same way you do your car. You MOT your car more than you do yourself – MOT YOURSELF every year like your car!’
Errol has been an ambassador for Prostate Cancer UK for several years now and is involved in many awareness campaigns including; ‘Stronger Knowing More Campaign’ with Danny John-Jules and Linford Christie and Go Dad Run with Colin Jackson. Errol was selected as a torchbearer for the 2012 Olympics, won The Points of Light Award (awarded by the British Prime Minister), an NHS Hero Award and in 2020 an MBE for excellence in raising the awareness of Prostate Cancer.
‘It’s all about all men standing together. Women are experts at standing together to raise awareness about the cancer that affects them and fight it head on. Men should do more.’
Errol and his team have set up The Errol McKellar Foundation (registered as a non-profit organisation) – its prime directive is to raise awareness of Prostate Cancer, and in turn inspire men to get tested.
‘For me, it’s now a passion. If people listen and take on board what I am saying, then it will all be worth it. We want to stop men from dying through ignorance and fear.’
For more information, visit www.motyourself.org.uk
Stonham Barns Park has been awarded the VisitEngland ‘We’re Good to Go’ industry charter mark which verifies that the attraction meets the Government and Public Health guidance on Covid-19. All the required health and safety processes are in place including hand sanitising stations, social distancing and NHS Track & Trace check-in.
For more information call Stonham Barns Park on 01449 711111 or visit www.stonhambarns.co.uk