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Pant-astic way to raise awareness.

Byline: Craig Thompson Health Reporter craig.thompson01@trinitymirror.com

SPORTING heroes who swapped the pitch for their pants are set to create a charitable foundation to raise worldwide awareness of testicular cancer.

Friends and sporting stars Steve Harper and Richard Metcalfe last year launched business venture OddBalls, offering a range of colourful men's boxer shorts, in a bid to raise awareness - and cash - for the condition.

Former Newcastle United goalkeeper Steve and one-time Newcastle Falcons rugby player Richard have been so delighted by the success of the venture, now the fastest growing British underwear company online, plans are underway to establish an OddBalls charitable foundation.

Steve said: "Due to the success, we are in the final stages of setting up our own charity. Through this we hope to make a difference to men's health around the world. Making testicular cancer a talking point amongst men and boys around the world.

'Testicular cancer is a relatively simple cancer to treat if caught early enough', our aim will be to get men checking themselves regularly. This will be done through celebrity endorsement, advertising campaigns and an app that we are currently developing to name a few current plans. The OddBalls Foundation will use 100% of donations and funds raised to raise awareness of testicular cancer with no overheads, something that very few charities can claim." The company was created in the pub last year, after Steve found out that his friend, then NUFC player Jonas Gutierrez, had been diagnosed with testicular cancer.

Steve and his friends, including Dr Douglas Stuart and former chief executive officer of Newcastle Falcons Rugby Club, Paul Varley, wanted to do something to raise money and awareness of the disease. The Oddballs name came very quickly as it seemed to suit both the sports they represented and the cause closer to their hearts.

William Cooper, brand and marketing manager for Oddballs, said: "All good ideas come after a few pints.

"The company has grown month and month, leading to the charity being established and also Oddballs becoming a brand of underwear recognised across the UK. Fenwick and Newcastle Falcons stock the products locally as well and smaller independent stores.

"We can proudly say we are the fastest growing British underwear company online. We have received endorsement and support from some of the biggest celebrities and sports stars."

Sports stars including Alan Shearer, Lewis Moody, Shane Williams, Mike Tindall, James Haskell and Kelly Holmes along with celebrities including Mark Wright and Chloe Madeley have all been pictures endorsing - and wearing - the pants. Geordie duo Ant and Dec are also big fans of the underwear.

The company was this week presented with a brand new Fiat 500 Lounge by Richard Hardie in North Tyneside to raise awareness of the charity.

The vehicle has been designed to look like one of the bold and crazy boxer shorts designed by the company.

Steve said: "Richard and I will be attending a lot of events this year to raise awareness and we needed something attention grabbing that would get people talking. Arriving in a cheeky Fiat 500 that looks like a pair of Oddballs boxer shorts is a highly visual way to get people talking."

'Testicular cancer is a relatively simple cancer to treat if caught early enough'

CAPTION(S):

Steve Harper and Richard Metcalfe, with Nick Hardie and the new Oddballs car at Richard Hardie's on the Silverlink Steve Harper and Richard Metcalfe, with Nick Hardie and the new Oddballs car at Richard Hardie's on the Silverlink Paul Norris

James Haskell, Chloe Madley, Mark Wright, Alan Shearer, Kelly Holmes, Lewis Moody
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Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Date:Sep 26, 2015
Words:599
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