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Southport Reporter® covering the news on Merseyside.

Date:- 06 March 2006

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England Team Help Tackle Male Cancer

THE ENGLAND Football Team is helping to tackle male cancer during the Keep Your Eye on The Ball awareness fortnight, which kicks off on Monday 6 March, by urging footie fans to be more aware of the signs and symptoms of testicular and prostate cancer.

The awareness fortnight, which is run by The Professional Footballers' Association, The Football Association and The Everyman Campaign, comes as they announce survey findings that show only 28% of men check their testicles regularly for signs of testicular cancer - a worrying fact given that if caught early enough testicular cancer is 99% curable.

The survey, conducted by The Everyman Male Cancer Campaign, also found that a shocking 95% of men and women agreed that men are less informed about male cancer than women are about female cancers. Over 60% of men also said that health matters were the least likely topics of conversation they would have with their friends.

However, over half of the men surveyed said they would feel comfortable visiting their GP if they found a lump on their testicles and only 16% admitted to being fearful and reluctant to go, which could be a sign that men's attitudes towards health issues are changing. A similar survey conducted by Everyman last year also revealed that only 19% of men checked their testicles regularly. So whilst the number of men checking themselves regularly remains low, there are signs that awareness in men is increasing.

The England goal-keeper and campaign ambassador, David James, commented:- "I support Keep Your Eye On The Ball because it is important to make the fans and players aware of male cancer. Testicular cancer is the most common cancer to affect men between 20-35 years old, the average career span of a footballer. The good news is that if caught early enough, it is curable in 99% of cases. That's why it is important for Keep Your Eye On The Ball to continue to raise awareness, which will help save lives."

Keep Your Eye on The Ball was set-up over 4 years ago in response to low awareness levels and after several high profile players including Jason Cundy, Alan Stubbs and Neil Harris were diagnosed with testicular cancer. Each year an awareness fortnight is held (which is running from 6 - 19 March) where Clubs and Associations are encouraged to help raise awareness to fans by displaying posters, information leaflets and adverts in match-day programmes. Over 60 league Clubs and Associations are participating in the campaign this year.

Simone Pound from The Professional Footballers' Association commented:- "This campaign is one that The PFA initiated and we are proud that so many of our members are working to raise awareness of male cancers. It is particularly important for us to demonstrate that professional footballers are not immune: Jason Cundy, Neil Harris, Alan Stubbs and Craig Forrest have battled and successfully combated testicular cancer. If we can continue to raise awareness in this way football and footballers can play a vital role in men's health."

Phil Smith from The Football Association commented:- "Male cancers are too often ignored and overlooked and that's why we decided to make Everyman an official charity of The FA. Through Keep Your Eye on The Ball we can use the power of football to raise awareness to a huge audience and ultimately save lives."

In the time it takes to play one 90 minute game of football, more than one man in the UK will have died of prostate cancer and it has now overtaken lung cancer to become the UK's most common cancer diagnosed in men.

Cases of testicular cancer have risen dramatically in the last 20 years, but the causes of this increase are not known. Thanks to advances made at The Everyman Centre - Europe's first and only centre dedicated to male cancer and part of The Institute of Cancer Research - testicular cancer is 99% curable if caught early enough. That's why it is important to make men aware of the signs and symptoms to look out for as early diagnosis can save lives.


DISABILITY charity Leonard Cheshire has been awarded a £287,164 grant by the Big Lottery Fund. The money will fund the expansion of the charity’s volunteer support team in the North West, enabling local disabled people to take part in activities of their choice.

Leonard Cheshire has 21 services in the North West, providing support to 750 service users. The charity is looking to quadruple the number of volunteers in the region.

The grant will fund 5 new part-time Volunteer Co-ordinator posts and an increase in hours for the one existing Volunteer Co-ordinator, giving a team of 6. They will be responsible for recruiting, training and managing all new and existing volunteers.  The grant will also fund a full time Training and Development Officer in the North West, who will be responsible for delivering Leonard Cheshire’s recently launched UK-wide volunteer induction programme. The scheme has been tailored so that it can be offered at flexible times to fit around volunteers’ busy lifestyles.

Jill Kershaw, Regional Volunteer Support Manager for Leonard Cheshire’s North West Region, comments:- ‘The enthusiasm and talent that volunteers bring make a real difference to the lives of our service users. The Big Lottery grant will help us to expand our volunteering arm in the North West and deliver a wider range of activities to the disabled people we support. We hope the flexible new volunteer induction programme will encourage more people to offer their time and skills to Leonard Cheshire.’

Michelle McNamee, Big Lottery Fund Head of North West region, said:- ‘We are delighted to award Leonard Cheshire this funding to expand their volunteer network. Volunteers play a vital role in communities and with this grant they will be helping people to integrate fully into community life.’

To find out more about Leonard Cheshire volunteering opportunities in the North West, please contact Jill Kershaw, Regional Volunteer Support Manager, on 0151 342 9155 or email

Major renewals for merseyrail network

PASSENGERS using the Northern line between Southport and Birkdale are set to benefit from smoother and quieter journeys when the current track is upgraded.

The £1 million scheme to install ‘continuously welded track’, will end the familiar ‘clackety-clack’ noise on the existing track.

To allow the replacement work to take place, the line between Southport and Formby stations will be closed from Saturday, March 24 until Monday, April 3 2006.

Andrew Skidmore, General Manager (Liverpool), said:- “This is the 5th renewals scheme to be carried out on the Merseyrail network in the last 2 years and demonstrates Network Rail’s continued commitment to maintaining these busy lines and investing in the railway in the north west.”

During the work:-

1,637 yards of track will be laid
2,300 sleepers will be replaced
5,000 tonnes of ballast will also be replaced
the scheme will be carried out over 810 manshifts

The work will also involve the temporary closure of Birkdale, Aughton Road, Duke Street and Portland Street level crossings to vehicles while the work is carried out.

The closure of these crossings has been carried out in consultation with Sefton Borough Council and diversionary routes will be in place. Arrangements are being made at each crossing for supervised access for elderly and disabled people.

During the work a rail replacement service will be in operation between Formby and Southport and at peak times anexpressservice will be in place between these points. At all other times the replacement services will call at Freshfield, Ainsdale, Hillside, Birkdale and Southport stations. The trains between Formby and Liverpool Central/Hunts Cross will run as per the timetable.

Passengers should call National Rail Enquiries on 08457 484950 for more information about rail replacement services.


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