GET checked sooner - that is the message of a county councillor who is organising a march and information event to raise awareness of prostate cancer.

Durham County Councillor for Bishop Auckland Town, Joy Allen, has brought together health and wellbeing professionals to raise awareness of the disease which is responsible for the death of one man every 45 minutes.

Cllr Allen is hoping to raise more than £1,000 by inviting those diagnosed with prostate cancer and those who have lost loved ones to the disease, to join in the march with their families and friends in Bishop Auckland on Saturday, March 23, at noon.

She was inspired to take on the march for Prostate Cancer UK after her father, Joseph Nolan, had the aggressive form of prostate cancer and lost his life to the disease.

Cllr Allen said: "I want to raise awareness of the disease, encourage men who have any concerns to visit their doctor and urge families of those who are concerned about their loved ones to get them to make a potential life saving doctors appointment. Unfortunately, my father was diagnosed too late and the cancer had spread to his bones, with early diagnosis he could still being enjoying life with us today.”

“I am really looking forward to the march and I’m delighted to be raising awareness and much needed money to help us beat prostate cancer.”

Health and wellbeing professionals will be on hand in the Newgate Centre throughout the the day to offer advice on prostate and other cancers and to encourage people to take up free screening services.

Cllr Allen gathered with some of the chairties and partners at the centre yesterday to officially launch the event.

Bowel cancer survivor, Robert Scott, 56, and head and neck cancer survivor John Crick, 60, both of Bishop Auckland also spoke about the importance of visiting the GP and getting checked.

And chairman of the Teesside Prostate Cancer Support Group, Terry Bytheway, 69, who was given a terminal prostate cancer diagnosis in 2017, encouraged men to adopt a positive attitude and speak about their feelings.

Some of the partners involved include the Pioneering Care Partnership, the Butterwick Hospice and the Solan Connor Fawcett Family Cancer Trust.

Shops within the Newgate Centre will also be taking part in the day while it is hoped shops within the whole town will promote the event.

Carol Gaskarth, Chief Executive, Pioneering Care Partnership, said: “The Pioneering Care Partnership is thrilled to support this event, raising awareness of Prostate Cancer and its symptoms is the key to early detection. Finding and treating cancer at an early stage can save lives. Our cancer awareness team will attending the march to talk to individuals about the symptoms and help facilitate appointments. The Macmillan Joining the Dots Team will also be on hand to offer free personal advice and support for people aged over 18, who have been diagnosed with cancer. They are also there to support friends, carers and family too."

Manager of the Newgate Centre David Wilson said: “We are delighted to support this cancer awareness and health promotion event in our centre. We hope our shoppers and local residents visit and speak with the many agencies who are leading the fight against cancer.”

Gabriella Bailey, interim director of fundraising at Prostate Cancer UK, said: “We are so grateful that Joy has decided to organise a march in Bishop Auckland for Prostate Cancer UK. Our local March for Men events have been a great success and I would encourage anyone to keep an eye out for more events coming up, or to organise their own DIY march like Joy’s and help continue raising money and awareness.

"Currently one man dies every 45 minutes from prostate cancer in the UK. That’s more than 11,000 men a year and by 2030, prostate cancer is set to become the most commonly diagnosed cancer of all in the UK. The money raised from our walking programme will help us fund research for real change, from more effective testing to better treatments.”

To sponsor the march call Cllr Allen on 07762791347 or email