My role


World Cup winner George spurs men on to early diagnosis

Surrounded by images of some of north London’s finest footballers, one of south London’s finest, world cup winner George Cohen told his story.

George Cohen at THFCSome 60 men gathered at Tottenham Hotspur’s White Hart Lane ground as part of a 50+ men’s health event organised by Age UK’s Lottery funded Fit As Fiddle team and backed by the Men’s Health Forum. It was the first such event in an evolving partnership with the premier league club.

Beneath an enormous photo of Paul Gascoigne striking a stunning free-kick into Arsenal’s net in the 1991 FA Cup semi-final at Wembley, the former Fulham full-back George Cohen, aged 71, talked about English football’s finest hour – also at Wembley in 1966 - and then about his own darkest moments, far away from the public stage, with recurring bowel cancer. The disease first struck Cohen in his 30s and he has used a colostomy bag since he was 38. His message is a clear one: ‘early diagnosis saved my life. I’ve brought myself 35 years so far.’

Maria Abraham, the Health & Wellbeing Manager at the Tottenham Hotspur Foundation, said 'we're committed to improving health of men in the local community by providing physical activity programmes with a focus on male specific health topics. We had a great afternoon with George Cohen and I hope this is the first of many men’s health events here at White Hart Lane.'

Partnership with Spurs

Roger Jones explained why Fit As A Fiddle wants to develop men’s health events such as this one. ‘At Age Concern we noticed that general health activities were dominated by ladies so we decided we needed events targeted at men using male language. We don’t do aquarobics, for example, we do water circuit training. Our weight-loss programme is explicitly called Slimming Without Women.'

He told the men present: ‘we try to organise activities that give us a chance to make friends and have fun too. We want your ideas – what do you want out of our partnership with Spurs?’

The event was also backed by Haringey DAAT Haringey Council, NHS Haringey, Haringey Libraries, NHS Enfield, the Lottery Fund and Bowel Cancer UK. Haringey Advisory Group on Alcohol screened men on their drinking, giving advice and leaflets to the 10% or so who were drinking excessively. Haringey is slightly above the national average for problem drinking. A keen Spurs supporter at the event said: 'With Spurs as the local team this is hardly surprising.'

Page created on February 14th, 2011

Page updated on February 21st, 2011