Eastleigh and Dagenham & Redbridge teamed up in the fight against prostate cancer when they met in the rebranded MANarama National League on September 22nd.

The National League has chosen leading men’s health charity Prostate Cancer UK as its first ever official charity partner, to unite in the fight against the UK’s most prevalent male cancer, and in a first for English football a national football league has changed its branding midseason. Vanarama, the title sponsor of the National League, has changed its name from the start of September until Non-League Day on October 13th to raise awareness of the deadly disease.

The Spitfires and the Daggers went head to head at a rain-lashed Silverlake Stadium, with the league’s pioneering work with the leading men’s health charity taking centre stage. Both managers Andy Hessenthaler and Peter Taylor sported the iconic Prostate Cancer UK ‘Man of Men’ pin badge and joined their teams for a striking pre-match image behind a huge board promoting the charity and the striking new MANarama logo, which was also spotted on many more hoardings around the ground.

One man dies every 45 minutes from prostate cancer, and the live-on-BT-Sport clash saw both skippers, Reda Johnson and Matt Robinson, proudly display a unique bright orange captain’s armband, which includes the iconic Prostate Cancer UK logo, to illustrate their clubs’ support against the most common cancer in men.

And their fellow National League clubs, plus those from the competition’s North and South divisions, will follow suit on Non-League Day, Saturday, October 13th. Both bosses have previously supported the charity’s work, and Taylor, who walked alongside Sky Sports presenter Jeff Stelling in his March for Men in 2016, backed the incentive.

He said: “Prostate Cancer UK’s work across football has been hugely prominent in recent seasons and it’s great to see the grassroots game embracing this hugely important issue.

“I’ve worked with the charity before and it was an honour to walk alongside Jeff Stelling during his epic Men United March in 2016. I met so many inspiring and incredible people that day and that reinforced just how much of a serious issue this disease is. That’s why I’m proud to wear their ‘Man of Men’ pin badge on the touchline.

“One man dies every 45 minutes from prostate cancer. That’s simply unacceptable and is something we need to turn around, and I’m proud Dagenham & Redbridge and Eastleigh played a prominent role promoting it on Saturday.”

Taylor’s opposite number Hessenthaler echoed those sentiments, adding: “It was a privilege to see Eastleigh supporting this hugely important relationship between Prostate Cancer UK and the National League this weekend, and I was delighted to wear my ‘Man of Men’ pin badge on the touchline.

“Me and Peter know each other extremely well. Of course, we both wanted three points on the day, but off the field we remain united against prostate cancer.

“I’ve supported the charity for many years but the statistics about this disease don’t get any easier to digest. Saturday was a game of two halves, but knowing one man dies every 45 minutes from this disease really brings home the severity.

“The MANarama League rebranding is an impressive statement knitting everyone together in this fight. It was great to see our skipper Reda Johnson leading by example with his eye-catching orange armband and know the football family will continue to unite against this deadly opponent.”

Vanarama has also pledged to raise £150,000 in just 43 days from a vehicle-leasing incentive that runs across September, as they tell the nation to ‘lease a van, save a man’. Vanarama and its newly-launched car leasing platform, Motorama, will donate £50 for every vehicle leased from the start of September until Non-League Day, when a cheque will be presented on October 13th at FC Halifax Town vs Chesterfield live on BT Sport. From September 1 until Non-League day 688 men will die from prostate cancer, emphasising the need to take action.

On board with Non-League Day for the fifth time, Prostate Cancer UK raised £15,000 last year as more than 50 clubs joined the fight against the deadliest opponent of all, and this year’s day is shaping up to be bigger and better than ever with clubs from across the Non-League pyramid joining forces in a jam-packed day of activity.

Steve Mark, Vanarama’s Head of Marketing and Sponsorships, said: “Changing our business name from Vanarama to Manarama is a small gesture to support the amazing work that Prostate Cancer UK do and raise awareness for the cause.

“Seeing the campaign brought to life with the support of The National League at the weekend’s football was thrilling and demonstrates what can be achieved when business, sport and charities combine.”

Jake Martens, Prostate Cancer UK’s Football Partnerships Manager, said: “Our partnership with the National League has really caught the imagination, and it was fantastic to play such a prominent part in Saturday’s MANarama League game at Eastleigh.

“It was great to see both clubs embrace our ground-breaking work with Vanarama too, and we thank both managers Andy Hessenthaler and Peter Taylor for wearing the Prostate Cancer UK ‘Man of Men’ pin badge, and for captains Reda Johnson and Matt Robinson for proudly wearing the unique orange armband for the first time.

“That show of support highlights once again how clubs may be rivals on the pitch, but they are united off it in the fight against prostate cancer. We look forward to seeing that armband again on Non-League Day on October 13th as more than 60 teams join us in our fight to help stop prostate cancer being a killer.”

To find out more information about Prostate Cancer UK’s work in football go to: www.prostatecanceruk.org/football

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