Warwickshire lent its support to a charity walk in honour of Club legend Bob Willis as former players and Members gathered at Edgbaston to raise awareness of prostate cancer.
Ex-Warwickshire and England players Ian Bell, Andy Lloyd and Tim Munton were among around 70 people who took part in a 6km walk for the Bob Willis Fund.
They started the fundraising walk, led by Bob’s widow Lauren and Bob’s brother David, with a circuit of the pitch perimeter before heading into Cannon Hill Park and finishing back to the stadium with a final circuit of the pitch.
Warwickshire and England great Willis was a healthy 66-year-old when he was diagnosed with prostate cancer in April 2016. He died less than four years later.
Wednesday’s walk (22 March) was organized as one of more than 30 planned across the country aimed at further raising awareness of prostate cancer symptoms.
Bob’s wife Lauren Clark said: “It’s fantastic to be here at Edgbaston. As usual, Warwickshire have come up trumps. It’s so lovely to see some of Bob’s former teammates; the support for Bob is amazing and we are truly grateful.
“It’s also great to see so many players from the Club’s senior’s squads – the over 50s, 60s and 70s – involved as it’s men of a certain age who are most likely to be affected by prostate cancer.
“The more we can all do to raise awareness of this dreadful disease the better. Hopefully events like this will encourage men to protect themselves, look out for the symptoms, and get tested.”
The walk was organised by Bob Willis Fund ally Ron Hedley who is facing his own battle with prostate cancer. He intends to complete the 33 walks across the country before his 75th birthday in September 2024.
Lauren described him as “a force of nature, putting aside his own needs to try and save the lives of others”.
Ian Bell said getting men to talk about prostate cancer was crucial in order to get early diagnoses and save lives.
He added: “When I think of Bob I think of Headingley ‘81. I’ve watched that clip thousands of times. He was an England and Warwickshire legend. As a player we always dreaded ‘The Verdict’ with Bob but we knew what a great guy he was and we all had huge respect for him.
“It’s great to be here at Ron’s march for The Bob Willis Fund. We need to spread awareness far and wide about prostate cancer and the signs to look for.”
For more information on Prostate Cancer and symptoms got to prostatecanceruk.org.