Menston film star Christian in charity cycle ride

Wharfedale Observer: Alex and Christian Cooke Alex and Christian Cooke

Menston actor Christian Cooke, who stars in a major new Hollywood film, is taking time out from his busy schedule to help sufferers of prostate cancer.

Christian, 21, alongside his brother Alex, 24 , will be cycling 500kms across Malawi in a bid to raise over £3,500 for the British Urological Foundation.

The foundation was set up to improve the management of urological disease and aims to help the 5,000 men in the UK who are diagnosed with prostate cancer each year.

Christian and his brother are currently in training to build up their stamina for the trip.

His brother Alex told Wharfedale Newspapers: “We signed up to it about a year ago. We thought it would be an unbelievable physical challenge and it’d feel great to do something so worth while.

“Christian and I have never done any type of challenge like this before and have no experience in long distance cycling.

“In fact the only cycling we have done is in the gym on an exercise bike! But we both bought bikes and have been training for the past six months.”

The brothers have to raise a minimum of £3,500 in order to go on the trip.

Alex said: “The price includes costs for accommodation, flights and food. When we are out there we’ll be camping and sleeping in local cheap accommodation. We are really looking forward to it.”

Christian, whose makes his debut film appearance in the Ricky Gervais movie Cemetery Junction next year, has had to try to fit training around his busy acting schedule. He plays the main character in the film and is rubbing shoulders with Hollywood greats such as Ralph Fiennes and Emily Watson.

Alex said: “Although he was very busy, I think it gave him something else to focus on which is what he has needed, especially with the pressures of doing his first feature film with such a stellar cast.

“Now he’s finished filming, he’s training intensely and has gone up to the Lake District this week for a few days of cycling.

“The longest we’ve ever ridden together so far was a 40 mile cycle round Richmond Park a few times. It was tough enough in this country. In Malawi, we’ll be doing at least 65 miles a day and obviously in extremely hot conditions. Much of the cycle will be off road, which I imagine will double the intensity.”

The brothers, who have received some sponsorship from JD Cycles in Ilkley, are due to set off on Sunday, September 6 and will return to Britain on September 15.

There will be around 20 others joining them on the trip.

Alex said: “Not only is prostate cancer another life threatening cancer but just about every other male will have some sort of prostate related problem at some point in his life.

“Ten thousdand men a year die from prostate cancer and not even half of that number actually get any diagnosis. If it’s caught early it can be cured but in so many cases it isn’t.

“Nearly as many men get prostate cancer as women get breast cancer yet five times as much money is spent on breast cancer and the awareness of it.

“If we spend the money now, then hopefully developments will be in place in years to come and me and millions of other young men will benefit hugely when we get older. I worked with the Prostate Centre for about a month and it was then that the seriousness of the illness really hit me.

“Like any other cancer it has massive effects on the whole family, not just the victim. As a guy who is aware of just how big a killer this type of cancer is, I feel a duty to inform others and ask all men to talk to their doctor about getting a PSA test.”

Anyone who would like to sponsor Alex and Christian on their venture should visit their giving page at www.justgiving.com/alexchristiancooke.

Christian said: “This will be an amazing experience and hopefully I will stagger through it! It is for a great cause and I’m very excited about it all.”

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