On Tuesday, we’re delighted to welcome the Official Charity Partner, Prostate Cancer UK, to Griffin Park. Volunteers will be collecting money outside the ground to beat a disease killing one man every 45 minutes in the UK, so do say hi and give generously.
This is a hugely important cause; earlier this season we learnt Peter Gilham, the voice of Brentford, who’s graced our matchday microphone for the past 49 years, had been diagnosed with prostate cancer. Thankfully it was caught early and Bees fans showed their loyalty and support by raising £1,500 for Prostate Cancer UK, along with making a massive flag which was unveiled at the beginning of the season.
Here, Peter swaps the microphone for a pen to tell us why everyone’s support meant so much to him and how fans can continue to back him and Prostate Cancer UK.
Being the matchday announcer at Brentford is, apart from my wife, the greatest love of my life. I’d say most people have got red blood, but the blood in my veins is red and white; it’s something I live for.
When I was diagnosed with prostate cancer, I can’t tell you how humbled I was by the amount of support I received. I’ve followed Brentford since I was seven years old and I’ve seen over 2,800 Brentford games over the years, so I consider Griffin Park my second home, and everyone here – the staff, players and fans as my family.
The moment I announced my diagnosis, it just took off. I had messages from fans, players past and present, managers from around the country and from people who’ve also been affected by prostate cancer. It was just amazing. Then they held a collection for Prostate Cancer UK, and then came the enormous flag…
The day the flag was shown at Griffin Park for the first time was immense. I keep using this word, but the support I’ve had and continue to have from everybody is totally humbling. To see the flag on show at the ground, in the back of one of the stands on the far side helps me to stay so positive – it really does mean a lot.
The club have also been brilliant; I couldn’t ask for better employers and in the summer they’ll also be getting involved in Prostate Cancer UK’s Football March for Men, following on from Jeff Stelling’s incredible efforts over the last couple of years. On July 22 football fans from across London will all be marching towards Wembley to converge at the home of English football, and Griffin Park is one of the stops en route.
The charity is asking fans to put their rivalries aside, and I couldn’t agree more. It doesn’t matter whether you wear red and white, blue and white, or black and white, but it’s what’s in your heart, and the reason you’re there is the important thing. People forget about their rivalries when it comes to these things.
At Griffin Park we normally get a crowd of about ten thousand and so there could 1,250 people here who may have prostate cancer. Those kinds of figures are startling, and the reason we need fans to join together and take action.
So I’d say to anyone thinking of taking part in one of these marathon marches, or indeed cycling or making a giant flag, whatever it is, keep doing what you’re doing; it’s so important and you’ve got my full backing.
If you’re interested in joining one of the marches and putting your best foot forward, then visit Prostate Cancer UK’s website at www.prostatecanceruk.org/marchformen to find out more