This weekend I have been organising a charity concert to help the fund raising for my son and son-in-law’s epic bike ride to Amsterdam in June raising money for Prostate Cancer UK. I am not used to the role of music impresario but managed to engage a good friend of mine, K, to bring his band ‘Rain’. My knowledge of this band goes back to 1977 when I lodged with K and his family who over the years became very good friends. He was already playing in a band even then but current members, his son and one of his daughters, were respectively, very young (2) or not yet born. But they practised in his big rambling house in Bentley, Doncaster and I was therefore part of that world too. Personnel changes, band name changes and I assume song changes have accompanied forty years+ of playing in working men’s clubs, pubs and other venues. Now it’s a four piece band with son, S, on drums and singing, daughter, H, on keyboards and a fourth member, D, as lead guitarist.
In 1980 as a wedding present they played at my wedding which made the evening go really well. At the end of the evening I discovered they had missed the buffet as they were playing so they were going for an Indian meal. I got permission from my new wife to join them and had a relaxing hour in their company. My friends considered the desertion of my wife on my wedding night as bad form but honestly at the time it seemed right but has always been a talking point since!
As time went by the band changed personnel though K was a mainstay of the unit whatever formation was developed. Over the years I have been to see them perform but not recently so it was a great night to see their latest incarnation as ‘Rain’ with father, son and daughter alongside the excellent lead guitarist. The big bonus last night is that one of the bikers, my son-in-law M, joined the band for three great numbers in their first set. Another bonus was that the other biker, my son, J, declined to take up lead vocals, his similarity to Ed Sheeran ending with hair colour.
It was a great gesture for K and the band to do this for free and once I’d seen them unload and set up this was no five minute activity, it made me tired just watching. They were at my cricket club in a newly refurbished room which made it a special night. Selling 60 tickets meant we were assured a good return but everyone’s generosity with the raffle, spontaneous donations, selling of badges and wristbands swelled the total which reached £1000 on the night. It was such a great return and now means that the two bikers have reached their first target of £2000 around 43% of their target but crucially it’s the minimum amount to ensure their place on the start line. It’s a major achievement and serious training is in order for the next three months as they make themselves fit for the challenge ahead.
I am always so pleasantly surprised by people’s capacity for giving and this was so much in evidence last night. From the band itself who worked hard to ensure the night went with a bang but also to individuals seeking out the raffle sellers to ensure they gave freely and enjoyed the 20 raffle prizes donated by others. For me it all feels very personal as I know I am already a beneficiary of the work of the charity PROSTATE CANCER UK. New drugs developed recently through the work of the charity alongside campaigns to make them available to NHS patients means that in the five years since my diagnosis there are now options prolonging my life for which the work of the charity has played such a significant part. But what struck me last night was the need to know the fact that 1 in 8 men, 🎱, will suffer from prostate cancer and a worrying 10,000 will die from this disease in the U.K. each year. So it may be your dad, grandad, brother, husband or close friend that could, out of the blue, be so diagnosed.
Men tend to act ostrich-like to illness and this can be so deleterious to our health by needless delay and procrastination seeking screening tools and possible early diagnosis. Do not accept the myths which surround prostate cancer – it’s an old man’s disease, you die with it not from it, the test (PSA) is not reliable, it cannot happen to me, – get tested today if you are over 50 or over 40 if you have family members with PCa. You are more than two and a half times more likely to get prostate cancer if your father or brother has been diagnosed with it. Also your risk may be higher if your mother or sister has had breast cancer particularly if it was linked to faults in the genes BRCA1 or BRCA2. Black men are also more likely to get PCa. Know the facts and take action please. Tests are getting better but the tests as they are today work and will enable you to get treatment early if needed. The level of ignorance on PCa is astounding. I recently had to have a medical procedure and the doctor doing it came to chat about my medical background. When I told him about PCa he said ‘good one to get as you won’t die from that’. If he was not about to stick something where the sun does not shine I would have been tempted to tell him the facts. I have known GPs too who display such lack of knowledge. Get in the know NOW!
It was a wonderful evening with wonderful friends and people enjoying themselves whilst giving. I am so glad that 40 years ago I met K, he became such a good friend with a wonderful family displaying such musicality. He was not well last night but such is his determination and selflessness he performed with the gusto and panache as the leader of this band and he was as good as I have ever seen him. Thanks K.