Derby local gains national recognition for prostate cancer awareness campaigning

A Derby local has been awarded runner up at a national awards ceremony for his outstanding campaigning work for The Prostate Cancer Charity. Stuart Watson, 67, from Oakwood was nominated for The Take Action Award, part of The Sheila McKechnie Foundation's prestigious annual campaigning awards, which recognises the efforts of people lobbying for positive change in their community.

The new award is dedicated to people aged 60 or over who campaign about issues that matter to them. At the awards ceremony, held at St Martin's Hall in London, it was announced that Stuart was runner up from a shortlist of three finalists, narrowed down from hundreds of applications.  

Stuart was inspired to volunteer for the Charity three years ago following his own experiences of prostate cancer. Diagnosed with the disease in 2004 at the age of 60, Stuart knows how valuable the Charity's helpline, which is run by specialist nurses, can be in providing support and information to men. Stuart said "I didn't know about the Charity's helpline when I was diagnosed. I wish I did as I felt like I was fumbling in the dark for information when I needed it. I want to make sure men know about prostate cancer, and that the Charity can help them.  

Fortunately for Stuart his prostate cancer was diagnosed at an early stage and he was successfully treated. But the experience stayed with him and, like many of the Charity's dedicated volunteers, Stuart wanted to support other people affected by prostate cancer and decided to volunteer on a regular basis.

Since becoming a volunteer for the Charity, Stuart has been a central force in its campaigning work. From taking part in a panel discussion at last year's Labour Party Conference, lobbying MPs at a reception in the House of Commons during Prostate Cancer Awareness Month in March, to contacting all of the MPs in his area - Stuart has tirelessly campaigned for positive change in prostate cancer services. He is also attending the Liberal Democrat's party conference this weekend to meet MPs and local councillors with the Charity.

Stuart said: "Since volunteering for the Charity I've had the opportunity to contribute to its campaigning work, and I've done things I never dreamt of doing. It's not every day you get to go to the House of Commons but I've done this and so much more. I'm honoured to have been recognised for this work but what's most important is that I know the time I give to the Charity will make a real difference to men like me who are affected by prostate cancer."

Owen Sharp, Chief Executive of The Prostate Cancer Charity said: "When it comes to our campaigning work we know that politicians sit up and listen when they hear from people who have direct experience of prostate cancer, especially someone like Stuart who feels passionately about the cause. It's vital that men directly affected by prostate cancer are at the heart of every aspect of the Charity's work. Stuart is a fantastic ambassador for the Charity and we're thrilled that he has been acknowledged for all his hard work."