On the eve of his 80th birthday on 24th May, legendary singer/songwriter Bob Dylan joins stars from sport and entertainment to support a new charity, The Bob Willis Fund, aimed at raising awareness and money for research into the better detection and diagnosis of prostate cancer.
Bob Willis, the former England cricket captain, hero of Headingley 1981 and opinionated Sky Sports cricket pundit, died in December 2019.
His wife Lauren Clark and brother David Willis have launched the Fund to support critical research into the disease, with the hope that a nationally accessible, accurate screening programme may be introduced to save the lives of much loved men.
“We can never accept Bob was taken so young. His loss is devastating. One man dies of prostate cancer every 45 minutes in the UK. We knew we had to use Bob’s legacy to try and prevent other families from suffering like we are,” said Lauren.
Bob was a fanatical Bob Dylan enthusiast, adding Dylan to his own name when he was 16, after attending his first concert at the Royal Albert Hall in 1965. On hearing about Bob Willis’ love for his music, Dylan agreed to become the Fund’s Honorary Patron, saying“ Bob Willis was a great sportsman who left too soon. I’m happy to help keep his flame and cause alive.”
Lyricist Sir Tim Rice, a friend of Bob’s and a huge cricket fan, is Patron of the Fund and joins an impressive list of Ambassadors including former Prime Minister Sir John Major, Sir Ian Botham, Michael Atherton, David Lloyd and Michael Holding.
Sir Tim Rice said: “My family have been seriously affected by prostate cancer, so I appreciate first-hand how important it is to support The Bob Willis Fund to bowl out this disease, or at least greatly restrict its scoring rate.”
The main beneficiary for this year’s efforts will be Prostate Cancer UK supporting a groundbreaking research project based in the UK.
Doctor Matthew Hobbs, Director of Research for Prostate Cancer UK, said: “We are proud to work with the Bob Willis Fund, and delighted that Prostate Cancer UK will be the main beneficiary of Blue For Bob Day.”
Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men, and the money raised will be absolutely vital in helping us reduce the harm that it does by funding vital life-saving research, including the groundbreaking work of Doctor Jennifer Munkley to establish a revolutionary way to diagnose this disease.
“Bob was a game-changer, just as we want to be in helping to fund this vital research work for Prostate Cancer UK.”