A team of cricket enthusiasts will be taking to their bikes in July to encourage men to check their testicles for unusual lumps and not feel embarrassed to seek help if they feel anything unusual. With a twist on the famous cricketing rule outlawing ball tampering, they have called themselves ‘Ball tampering allowed’.

They have been inspired to ride in this year’s Manchester to Blackpool bike ride for Manchester’s cancer centre, The Christie, by Paul Ferriday, who was first diagnosed with testicular cancer in 2008 whilst going through fertility treatment.

Following chemotherapy and radiotherapy in 2008, Paul was in remission until a recurrence was found in 2019 during a routine scan. Despite further treatment, this had spread by 2021 to become secondary abdominal and lymphatic cancer. Major surgery followed to remove an aggressive tumour and more lymph nodes and Paul has received ongoing treatment, monitoring and care from The Christie since then.

Paul, aged 55 from Littleborough has recruited 10 friends to ride with him including – Jon Leech, Ben Leech, Adam Sherlock, Steve Edge, Glyn Johnson, Shaun McClarnon, Andrew Creevy, Bernie Miller, Gordon Hamilton and Clinton Perren.

Paul said: “When I was growing up the word cancer was rarely heard or spoken, it was the dreaded unspoken ‘C’ word. It’s why I am so passionate now about raising awareness, particularly when it comes to men checking themselves for male cancers.
“It is scary when you find out you have been diagnosed with advanced life-threatening cancer, in my case not once but three times. I am very grateful to The Christie team for all they have done and continue to do for me to make it more bearable physically and mentally. Manchester has one of the finest cancer centres in the UK and it is comforting knowing that they are only a phone call away when required.
“The Christie provides an amazing level of specialist care and pragmatic advice to so many people. All the team, from administrators and hospital porters to the nurses and consultants, share a common DNA of compassion and understanding to care for and treat people from every background with respect and dignity at a time when they can often be overwhelmed by fear and uncertainty. The team at The Christie continue to provide me with the belief to fight on.
“Physical fatigue was one of the most difficult things to come to terms with after treatment along with the mental health challenges caused by hormone and chemical changes after surgery and the constant threat of more bad news about my cancer. I have had the consistent support of my family and friends to help me adjust and manage my condition.
“As well as raising awareness about testicular cancer amongst other lads and dads, doing the Manchester to Blackpool bike ride is my way to give something back and thank all those at The Christie who have helped me. I also want to contribute to further advancements in the treatment and prevention of cancer for future generations. Survival rates are continuing to improve but that will only continue if people have the confidence to check themselves regularly and get help early.
“When I was first diagnosed with cancer, sharing my story would have been somewhat embarrassing but The Christie has given me the confidence to share my experience and I want to use my story to help others. If it can help improve one person’s life, it will be worth it.”

Paul admits the 60-mile ride to Blackpool will be a challenge. “I haven’t cycled for many years but have played cricket and football competitively and until recently enjoyed jogging and visiting the gym before arthritis struck both knees.
“Signing up for the Manchester to Blackpool ride has provided a much-needed physical challenge. I’ve bought a new bike and slowly but surely, depending on my body’s condition and tiredness, I enjoy getting out and challenging myself on the local Lancashire and Yorkshire hills and moorland.
“Cancer affects 1 in 2 people directly, it could be you or someone very close to you, so the more help people can support The Christie to raise funds the more chance we have to fight this cruel disease. Your donation or fundraising activity could make the difference to someone very close to you in the future.”

Paul, who is a non-executive director, also hopes to marry his partner of 7 years, Jane McClure, on 1 October. Sadly, Paul lost his mother to cancer just before having his surgery in 2019.

The Christie charity supports the work of The Christie NHS Foundation Trust providing enhanced services over and above what the NHS funds. This includes money for care and treatment, research, education and extra patient services. Gifts from the public make a huge difference to the care and treatment that The Christie is able to provide to patients and their families. 

The Christie NHS Foundation Trust was the first specialist trust to be rated as ‘Outstanding’ twice (in 2016 and 2018) by the health regulator the Care Quality Commission (CQC). It referred to The Christie as ‘a leader in cancer care’ and ‘a pioneer in developing innovative solutions to cancer care.’ The CQC praised the Trust’s staff which it said ‘go the extra mile to meet the needs of patients and their families’ and that they were ‘exceptionally kind and caring.’ In 2017, the CQC rated The Christie as the best specialist trust in the country, and one of the top three trusts overall in England.