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A campaign to raise awareness of prostate cancer by targeting men in betting shops has reached thousands of men and generated tens of thousands of pounds for leading men’s health charity, Prostate Cancer UK, to fund life-saving research.

A partnership between Prostate Cancer UK and high street bookmaker William Hill – part funded by industry trade body ABB Scotland – saw all 310 of William Hill’s shops in Scotland take part in a four month awareness and fundraising drive, including shops in Lothian.

During the campaign, prostate cancer information leaflets and posters were distributed to shops and staff received training on key prostate cancer messages to bring up in conversation with customers. Volunteers from Prostate Cancer UK, who have lived or are currently living with the disease, also visited shops to talk to staff and customers about their own experiences.

The campaign secured cross party support from more than three dozen MSPs and MPs, with many visiting shops in their local constituency, including Jeremy Balfour MSP.

Campaign highlights included:

•       5,000 Prostate Cancer UK ‘man of men’ pin badges were sold in shops, raising £10,000

•       A further £15,000 was raised by William Hill staff through charity fundraising including kilt walks, football and golf tournaments and a sponsored climb of Ben A’an

•       5,000 information cards were distributed across all 310 William Hill shops

•       Visibility at some of Scotland’s major football events including the Scottish Cup

Scottish Conservative MSP Jeremy Balfour said: ‘I congratulate William Hill and Prostate Cancer UK on this joint initiative. This is an innovative way of raising awareness of a serious illness and I hope it can help save lives.’ 

Kathleen Feeney, Volunteer Engagement Manager, at Prostate Cancer UK, said: “Prostate Cancer UK’s ambition is to stop men dying from prostate cancer and to achieve this it is crucial to reach as many men as possible to help raise awareness of their risk, and raise funds for vital research. Partnering with William Hill has provided us an opportunity to get these important health messages out to many men in Scotland whilst also raising funds. We thank all those involved at William Hill for making this partnership a success, and taking us a step closer to beating prostate cancer.”

Garry Fenton, Regional Manager for William Hill, added: “We know of customers who were prompted by the campaign to speak to their GP and who are now receiving treatment for prostate cancer. In the longer term, many more will likely do so. That is a legacy the William Hill team can rightly be proud of. However, prostate cancer is predicted to become the most common of all cancers in the UK by 2030 so it is vital that we continue to raise awareness about the disease.”

Donald Morrison, spokesman for ABB Scotland, said: “We are delighted to have supported this innovative campaign. Staff and customers at William Hill’s shops can rightly feel proud that money they raised here in Scotland is helping to fund pioneering research and ultimately advancing the treatment of prostate cancer.”