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The man leading the Movember league

Travis PerkinsSponsored by Travis Perkins

If you visited Franklin's Gardens during November 2014 then there is a good chance you would have spotted Simon Hammerschmidt. Well, with a suspect moustache painted in the black, green and gold of his beloved Northampton Saints, he was hard to miss.

And the 52-year-old has every intention of doing the same this year as he once again partakes in Movember, by growing a moustache in the month of November to raise money and awareness of men's health issues.

Simon, who along with his family are season ticket holders at Franklin's Gardens, had already raised £1,100 in the first five days and is confident of surpassing his £1,500 target. He currently leads Aviva Premiership Rugby's Movember fundraising league and explained why it is such an important month for him.

Simon, who works in the management consultancy industry, said: "The whole thing around Movember is about testicular cancer, the prostate and other men's health issues which men are generally shy about talking about.

"We also lost a family friend to testicular cancer. It was an awful situation where he (Rex Wheater) was faced with having to have both testicles removed to save himself around 15 years ago and he felt it would be so emasculating that he would rather carry on until he was taken. Six months later he panicked but the doctors said by that point it was too late and he died.

"That has always stuck with me. Guys are rubbish at talking about this sort of stuff and thanks to this cause it has certainly raised awareness around men's health.

"I think attitudes have been changing and we are talking about a lot more stuff now that we wouldn't have a few years ago.

"But breast cancer and women checking themselves is not something women seem scared to talk about, whereas testicular cancer is still something men on the whole ignore and would rather just go down the pub and not worry about.

"Attitudes are changing but you can't do too much talking about it in my opinion.”

Simon also highlighted the story of fellow Saints fan Luis Ghaut as another source of inspiration.

Ghaut was diagnosed with a rare bone cancer called osteosarcoma as an 11-year-old and was Northampton's mascot for their victorious Aviva Premiership Rugby final in 2014, just four months before he passed away at the age of 13.

Simon added: "Luis was probably one of the most inspiring people I have ever met. The Saints really took him into their hearts and just a few days before the final he had a tumour removed from his leg and they had told him he didn't have long to live. He was told he shouldn't be leaving hospital but he had the attitude of 'well I'm not missing this'.

"I got to know Luis and I know his dad quite well. He never ever stopped smiling and was a truly lovely lad.

"The more we can spend on researching these terrible illnesses and conditions the better.”

Premiership Rugby has announced a new and exciting partnership with the Movember Foundation designed to improve the physical and mental health of rugby fans across the country and contribute to the vital fundraising efforts of the charity.

The new relationship sees the men's health foundation become an official charity partner of Premiership Rugby.

Central to the new partnership is to support the UK fundraising efforts, dedicated to changing the face of men's health in Movember, the month formerly known as November. Premiership Rugby will be running an Aviva Premiership Rugby League table with a 'Mo Captain' from each of the 12 clubs.

To sign up to the Saints' team head to www.moteam.co/northampton-saints

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