Burnley duo saddling up for Tour de France to raise awareness of cancer that affects one man in eight

Rik Clough (right) and Nick Emmott are ready for the challenge of a lifetime to take part in the first stage of the Tour de France for Prostate Cancer UK.
Rik Clough (right) and Nick Emmott are ready for the challenge of a lifetime to take part in the first stage of the Tour de France for Prostate Cancer UK.
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Battling and overcoming prostate cancer has inspired a Burnley businessman to take on a challenge to raise awareness of the disease.

Rik Clough is preparing to take part in the first stage of the Tour de France in aid of Prostate Cancer UK in June.

And although a keen and seasoned cyclist Rik admits pedalling the 192km will be a tough ride as a lot of the course is uphill on narrow cobbled streets.

But he is excited at the prospect of pedalling the route just one week before the professional competitors saddle up for the annual tournament when he is usually a spectator.

Rik, who is 52 and has his own company, Continuous Improvement Solutions, said: "I go to watch the Tour de France every year so the opportunity to actually cycle the route was something I was keen to get involved in."

Cycling beside him will be Rik's boyhood pal, Nick Emmott. Also a keen cyclist, dad-of-three Nick owns Burnley based CGS Glazing. He lives in Burnley with his partner, Tracy Rainford.

Nick said: "We love watching the Tour de France so to be given the chance to take part is fantastic.

"My aim is for us to complete this in 12 hours."

Along with raising as much money as possible for the charity, for Rik raising awareness of the disease is also a vital part of the challenge.

One men in eight are diagnosed with prostate cancer at some point in their their life and Rik, who also works at Barnoldswick's Rolls Royce, believes a big factor is lack of awareness.

Rik sought medical help when he experienced the first symptoms of the illness which was blood in his urine.

As soon as he was diagnosed he underwent an operation to remove his prostate along with two follow up operations to deal with the effects of the illness.

It has been a tough year for Rik, his wife Karen and their family, including their children, Jake (25) and 23-year-old Laura.

But Rik has dealt with it in his stride and is happy to speak about his diagnosis and all he went through in a bid to help more men feel encouraged to talk more openly about themselves.

He said: "Men often struggle to talk about how they feel and any illnesses they may have but I think it is very important to help you come to terms with what you may have gone through."

And although cancer free, Rik is still on the road to recovery and extremely grateful to Mr Mohan Pillai and Mr Mohammed Maasarane, the consultant urological surgeons, who treated him.

Rik added: "The NHS receives a lot of criticism but they were absolutely fantastic, swift to respond, so thorough and I was kept informed throughout the entire process."

To help boost the funds Rik and Karen have organised a Peaky Blinders theme night on Saturday, April 27th, at Burnley Mechanics Theatre.

Tickets are £35 a head for a three course meal and there will be entertainment by Andy Brown as Elvis and Steeros.

Anyone who would like to donate to Rik's fund is asked to go to www.justgiving.com/fundraising/RikClough or to donate £5 text RIKC66£5 to70070