The Engine and Tender, in Ampthill, Bedfordshire, has been named as Prostate Cancer UK’s favourite local having beaten over 650 pubs across the UK to be crowned the winners.
This is the second year the men’s health charity has run the competition to find its favourite local, which runs as part of Prostate Cancer UK’s wider Men United Arms fundraiser, in which it calls on landlords to throw open their doors and raise vital funds and awareness to help save men’s lives.
Landlord Steve Butler took the competition in his stride and not only turned his pub into a Men United Arms, but also encouraged the whole community in Ampthill Town to join in too. In total, they have raised more than £8,000.
Steve said: “We’re so happy to have been named Prostate Cancer UK’s Favourite Local and it now encourages people in Ampthill and gives them a reason to keep going. We’ve seen an increase in the awareness raised and there are definitely more conversations had in the pub about prostate cancer — people are chatting about it now. We are really pleased.”
Activities in the past four months have included the introduction of a weekly meat raffle, a race night sale of pin badges and wrist bands, and a Six Nations rugby prediction competition. Steve also reached out to local businesses within the area and surrounding towns and villages, many of which have also got involved with the campaign by selling pin badges and displaying information about the cause.
As one of the highest fundraisers, the pub was among the five pubs shortlisted and put forward to a judging panel of experts who were thoroughly impressed by the pub’s efforts and dedication, awarding them Prostate Cancer UK’s favourite local.
But Steve and the whole of Ampthill aren’t stopping there. They have a target to raise £20,000 and have lots more planned, including two golf days, a quiz night, a ‘Lucky Number’ lottery style game, a sponsored car rally tour of Europe, and a Black and White fundraising ball to round it all off.
Steve said: “I definitely encourage landlords to get involved. It’s fun, you have a laugh with friends, and it gets people in the community together. It’s been as much about raising awareness as it has about raising the money.”
Creativity and innovation
Industry experts that lined the judging panel included MasterChef star Gregg Wallace, former darts player and television personality Bobby George, former chief executive of the Spirit Pub Company, Mike Tye, Pub Aid’s James Cuthbertson, CAMRA chief executive Tim Page, and Prostate Cancer UK’s specialist nurse, Emma Craske. The pubs were judged based on their creativity and innovation, customer involvement, commitment to raising money and raising awareness of prostate cancer in their local community.
Some 11,000 men die from prostate cancer in the UK each year, making it the most common cancer in men, with 330,000 living with and after the disease in the UK.
James Beeby, director of fundraising at Prostate Cancer UK, said: “Huge congratulations to Steve, everyone at the Engine and Tender, and all those who supported in Ampthill. You were very worthy winners of our favourite local competition and have clearly gone above and beyond to support the cause.
“We have been blown away by the level of commitment and enthusiasm by Steve and everyone in Ampthill, as well as the amount of money and awareness raised during the last few months. We can’t thank you enough.
“Prostate cancer affects every community. One in eight men will be diagnosed in the UK and one man dies from prostate cancer every 45 minutes. I encourage all landlords to sign up and turn their pubs into a Men United Arms and help us stop prostate cancer from being a killer.”
Other shortlisted pubs that were in the running included Tanfield Lea Working Men’s Club (Durham), The Bull (Saffron Walden), The Ferry Tap (South Queensferry) and The Leigh Arms (Northwich).
Those inspired by The Engine and Tender, can still encourage their local to host a fundraiser for Prostate Cancer UK and help save men’s lives. Whether it be a pub quiz, live music night or darts competition, sign up for a fundraising pack or receive more information at prostatecanceruk.org/menunitedarms