Name change as Wigan pub backs charity appeal

The landlord of a village pub has pledged to change its name as he throws his support behind a charity campaign to fight a killer disease.

The Balcarres Arms in Haigh is set to become Men United Arms in honour of Prostate Cancer UK.

Landlord Anthony Critchley agreed to make the temporary change to support friend Mark Ferguson and his 30-strong team of riders planning to cycle to Amsterdam next year in aid of the charity.

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There will be a week of fund-raising activities in the Copperas Lane pub to coincide with the name change.

Anthony, who took over the pub four months ago, said: “I am very much in favour of giving what we can and if we are in a position to help, it’s a good thing to do.

“We have a ready-made audience here, so why not? We would be open to any good causes really.

“It’s a good opportunity to work with Mark and hopefully raise the profile of the charity and raise some money as well.”

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A banner bearing the pub’s new name will be erected and stay in place until Saturday, December 14.

Anthony said: “Officially we can’t take any of the signage off, but we can give it a name in terms of saying this is what we are called for a week. If it helps raise the profile of what we are doing, that’s a good thing.”

Staff will wear charity T-shirts, flags will fly and there will be a collection box too.

There will be karaoke, raffles and other activities during the week, culminating on December 14 with a holistic psychic fair in the afternoon and an evening of live music featuring local band The Retronotes.

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The pub’s efforts will add to the fund-raising by a team of cyclists taking on a mammoth challenge for the charity next year.

Cyclist Mark said: “It’s a great thing for Ant to do. It involves a lot of work and he’s new to being the landlord, so for him to throw his weight behind us and show his support for a good cause confirms he’s a good bloke.”

The team will ride from Sheffield Wednesday’s Hillsborough Stadium to Ajax’s Johan Cruyff Arena in Amsterdam in June.

Group members have previously done similar bike rides representing Wigan Athletic, alongside teams from other football clubs.

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But this year’s event will be something of a spin-off, as supporters from around the country come together for what has been dubbed Team Mongrel.

Among the cyclists are John Jones, from Tyldesley, who has incurable prostate cancer.

The team aims to raise £40,000 for charity Prostate Cancer UK, which funds research into treatments and tests in a bid to prevent the disease killing men.

Mark, 53, from Haydock, said: “I started cycling for my health and my first ride was 17 miles and I couldn’t walk for a week, but within the year I had done my first 100-miler.

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“That’s what the team’s about - it’s taking us to new experiences and new levels. I have dozens of new friends, people I would never have met without this.

“I have never had prostate cancer but it’s the people I have met who have inspired me to get involved.

“There are lots of dads and lots of brothers dying unnecessarily.

“The message we are trying to get across is to get checked and get treated.”