Tributes to dad-of-two who discovered he had cancer thanks to a pint of ale
PUBLISHED: 07:50 24 March 2019 | UPDATED: 10:29 25 March 2019
Archant Norfolk 2017
Tributes have been paid to a father-of-two who discovered he had testicular cancer thanks to a pint of ale.
Alan Pickering was prompted to check for symptoms by the charity beer Tobi’s Tipple which was created to raise awareness about the disease.
The 56-year-old, from Drayton, was treated and initially given a healthy prognosis in 2017.
But his cancer later spread and earlier this month he died at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital (NNUH).
Mr Pickering spoke to this newspaper two years ago to urge other men to check themselves for lumps and visit their GPs.
He said it was thanks to promotional material that came with the charity ale that he realised something was wrong.
Speaking in 2017, he said: “I had been reading a poster in the pub toilets, and it made me stop and think, ‘What is this? Something doesn’t feel right’.
“There was a lump on my testicle, it was hard, and it felt like it shouldn’t be there.”
After a visit to his local GP, Mr Pickering was immediately referred to a consultant and diagnosed with stage one testicular cancer.
He was treated in 2016, but the disease later returned.
Mr Pickering, who worked as a draftsman, died on March 5 this year.
His stepson, Ciaran O’Neill, 28, described him as someone with a “big heart” who was very patient and caring.
He said: “He really cared for myself, my sister and my mother especially. He adored and loved her.
“He was planning his life like he was going to get through this.”
Testicular cancer charity It’s On The Ball, which supported Norfolk Brewhouse to create Tobi’s Tipple, is planning to make another ale in his honour.
Vince Wolverson, chairman of It’s On The Ball, said: “Alan maintained a positive attitude and good humour throughout his treatment which has been an inspiration to all of us.
“We are planning, in conjunction with the Norfolk Brewhouse, to use next year’s Tobi’s Tipple to honour Alan in some way.
“It may be named after his dog, ‘Monty’ which Alan’s family have suggested would tickle Alan to know.”
Mr O’Neill has raised more than £780 for It’s On The Ball in memory of his step dad.
To donate, click here.
• Mr Pickering’s funeral is taking place at 11.45pm today (Monday, March 25) at St Faith’s Crematorium. Friends and family are invited to attend.