Gloucester Cockies hold raffles for the Gloucester Prostate Cancer Support Group

Dave Fraser, Steve Pennicuik and Jamie Searle have been working together to raise money for men's health. Photo Anne Keen
Dave Fraser, Steve Pennicuik and Jamie Searle have been working together to raise money for men's health. Photo Anne Keen

Men helping men raise money for men's health. That's what has been underway between the Gloucester 'Cockies' Rugby Union Club and the Gloucester Prostate Cancer Support Group.

September was Prostate Cancer Awareness Month and what better way to raise awareness for men to get checked for the most commonly diagnosed cancer in Australian men then selling raffle tickets at a rugby match.

For Cockies president Jamie Searle, raising funds for community organisations is just par for the course for sporting clubs.

"We're trying to make it more of our club culture," Jamie said. "What I'd like to see happen is that we run something at every home game. It's part of our community licence."

In September, the club held a 'ladies day' and raised $12,655 for the Gloucester Breast Cancer Support Group. They then decided they wanted to do something for men's health and held meat raffles for the prostate cancer group at two home matches.

When Gloucester butcher and support group member, Dave Fraser was approached by the club for the meat trays, Dave saw an opportunity to work together. The support group supplied the trays and the club sold the tickets. Dave also made up a hamper to raffle through his shop, Avon Valley Meats.

It's been a tough year due to COVID for any organisations that rely heavily on fundraising. The support group usually gets a big hit of funds through the Gloucester Rugby League Club, but due to COVID, the club opted for a shortened season.

"Supporting men's health is what the group's all about and the money doesn't just fall from the sky," Dave said.

Gloucester Prostate Cancer Support Group member Robert Sparke holds the bag while Jamie Searle draws the winner of the hamper.

Gloucester Prostate Cancer Support Group member Robert Sparke holds the bag while Jamie Searle draws the winner of the hamper.

For support group president Steve Pennicuik, getting the message out to younger men about getting their prostate checked is of dire importance and he believes the rugby club is exactly the right target.

"We struggle to reach the younger ones and this is a great way to do it," Steve said.

They are trying to encourage men to get checked from age 40 years and over. Dave hopes these kinds of activities will encourage more men to get tested.

"That's the name of the game," he said.

Dave's brother Brett (formerly of Gloucester but now in Port Macquarie) took part in The Long Run as part of Prostate Cancer Awareness Month. The idea was to run, walk or wheel 72 kilometres during the month. According to Dave, Brett planned to raise $720 but after reaching that goal in a couple of days he decided to double his efforts to 144kms. In the end, he raised around $3200.

As Gloucester is a small town, the Gloucester Prostate Cancer Support Group provide assistance to men and their families with any type of cancer diagnoses, not just prostate cancer. They provide assistance by the way of a support group offering a safe and comfortable place to talk or just listen as well as some financial support for men going through treatment who need a little bit of assistance.

For more information about the group, contact Steve Pennicuik on 0427 059 717, Robert Sparke on 0410 455 304 or email gloucesterpcsg@gmail.com.

The winner of the hamper was drawn by Jamie on Wednesday, October 7 with the prize going to Chris Wilson.