Photo gallery: RAF Marham take on West Norfolk Rugby Club at their King’s Lynn ground to raise money for cancer research, in match inspired by Springwood High School teacher Dan Ward
- Credit: Matthew Usher
He has survived testicular cancer and a gruelling bout of chemotherapy – yet Norfolk PE teacher Dan Ward said helping to raise money for Movember by playing in a charity rugby match was a bigger achievement than beating the illness.
Mr Ward was part of a West Norfolk Rugby Club side which took on a team from RAF Marham at the club's ground in Gatehouse Lane, North Wootton, to raise money for research into the condition.
The event was organised by Mr Ward's friend, Simon Stephenson, after he heard how the PE tutor at Springwood High School, in King's Lynn, had been struck down by the illness aged just 22.
Mr Ward – now 24 – revealed how the diagnosis 'hit him pretty hard' as he bravely stood up in front of his pupils to tell them the emotional story of how he underwent an operation to have a testicle removed and lost his hair during chemotherapy.
However, Mr Ward said: 'I don't think I've done anything extraordinary by beating it. It was just something I had to do. For me, the match and writing a cheque to a worthy cause is a bigger achievement.'
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Mr Stephenson said interest in last night's game 'snowballed' in the past week as people heard of Mr Ward's story.
More than 200 people packed into the Gatehouse Road ground to watch the match, including Springwood pupils there to support Mr Ward.
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'It has developed a life of its own since people have heard about it,' Mr Stephenson said. 'Dan has really personified it and it has brought it home to people.'
Marham team coach Tom Gelder, 28, added that it was an issue which 'speaks to us as rugby players and the male population'.
People also supported by donating raffle prizes. One person even withdrew a signed England shirt from sale to donate to the cause, while Listers King's Lynn also offered free weekends of driving in their top cars.
Each player donated £10 to play and sported a moustache, either real or a stick-on one. A raffle, hog roast, licensed bar and crossbar kicking challenge brought in extra cash.
Organisers hope to raise more than £1,000 from the event.
Those who still want to donate to the cause can also visit uk.movember.com and search for the team West Norfolk and Marham Mobros.
The EDP is backing the annual Movember appeal. If you are sponsoring the cause, contact Mark Shields on 01603 772426 or email email@example.com
For me, the match and writing a cheque to a worthy cause will be a bigger achievement
Springwood High School PE teacher Dan Ward
West Norfolk Rugby Club have had a charity Movember rugby match against a RAF Marham team at Gatehouse Lane in North Wootton. Above, the teams before the game. Below, from left, Richard Mansell, Dan Ward Simon Stephenson scrum down ready for the match. Pictures: Matthew Usher
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