Ahead of the South West’s biggest men-only annual charity event on Saturday 28 March, a local man has shared the moving reasons behind his motivation for taking part for the sixth consecutive year.

As is his annual tradition, 50-year-old Martyn Hamley, a carpenter and joiner at Princess Yachts, will be joining workmates Paul Blake, Neil Bailey and Paul Parrish to participate in Men’s Day Out in aid of St Luke’s. The day of banter and rugby includes a 12km sponsored walk that starts at Plymouth Albion RFC and finishes there with a pasty, pint and not-to-be-missed match, after taking in iconic locations in Plymouth, including the Hoe and the Barbican.

As they enjoy the camaraderie of the event and stride the streets raising much-needed funds, Martyn and his colleagues will be remembering their good friend and fellow Princess Yachts employee John Helmore, an exceptional craftsman and talented athlete, who excelled in competitive cycling.

Sadly, John died of cancer in 2015 – aged just 44 – having been looked after by us at our specialist unit in Turnchapel, where the expertise and compassion of our team help people live well to the end of their lives. Taking part in Men’s Day Out, which is sponsored by IU Energy, is the foursome’s way of paying tribute to John and thanking St Luke’s for the dedication with which we cared for him.

John is also remembered by Princess Yachts, where the annual John Helmore Prize for Excellence is awarded to an outstanding member of the team.

Martyn said: “John is greatly missed. My friendship with him went way back to 1986, when we were fresh faced from school and starting our apprenticeships. He stood out from day one because he always gave a hundred per cent to whatever he did, from his work to the sports he loved.

“John was the last person you’d imagine receiving a diagnosis of cancer because he was known for his healthy lifestyle. It just goes to show that none of us know when it might be us in that situation and needing the expert care of St Luke’s. That’s why Men’s Day Out is so important – it’s an opportunity to have a great day with your mates while fundraising for such a fantastic local cause. Everyone is made welcome and there’s a really great atmosphere.”

As in previous years of doing the charity walk, Martyn and his colleagues will take a short detour to sit on John’s memorial bench in Beaumont Park, remember their friend and see how much the silver mountain ash planted in tribute to him has grown since the previous year.

Since 2015, Martyn has raised over £2,500 for St Luke’s to help our service continue making a difference.

John’s sister, Jacqui Dinmore, said: “John was a special man and is missed very much. It is very touching that his friends remember him with such fondness. Taking part in Men’s Day Out year on year is a lovely way for them to remember John while helping ensure St Luke’s support can be there for other families, too.”

Registration for Men’s Day Out is £32, which includes a t-shirt, pasty, pint and entry to the rugby match. Sign up here.