Two nail-biting injury time goals by Lyle Taylor for Nottingham Forest in their away win at Bristol City earlier this season helped score a milestone donation to Cancer Research UK, thanks to NFFC sponsor UK Meds.

The 2-1 victory for The Reds netted Taylor £2,000 towards his ‘Pink October’ fundraising drive, after UK Meds and sister company PocketVet pledged to donate £500 to his cause every time the striker made the scoresheet in October 2021.

In total UK Meds – the official back of shirt sponsor for Forest – donated £5,250 to Lyle’s campaign.

Proceeds of £3,270 from UK Meds’ pink shirt sales, which were snapped up by fans within hours, went into to the fund.

Joe Soiza, managing director of UK Meds, said: “We’re lifelong Forest fans as well as sponsors, and after supporting Lyle’s 2020 campaign by pledging £1,000, we wanted to raise the stakes this year. It was brilliant to see Lyle knock in two terrific away goals in stoppage time at Ashton Gate – and it was made even more special because it topped up donations for Cancer Research UK. We want to thank Reds fans and the Forest community for buying the pink shirts and helping raise over £5,000 for what is a fantastic cause.”

Inspired by his personal experiences of family members battling the disease, 2021 is the fourth season that Lyle has thrown his support behind Cancer Research UK, dying his hair a distinctive pink colour and donning pink boots to raise awareness and drive donations. In fact, Lyle worked his way through four bottles of semi-permanent dye to keep his tresses on trend for the duration of the campaign.
Lyle said: “Those moments at Bristol City were unbelievable. Games like that, I’ll look at my shirt and I’ll remember forever being at Bristol away, with pink hair, wearing a makeshift snood bandana because my hair was too long and it was whipping me in the eyes.

“It was a surreal feeling and afterwards, speaking to the UK Meds teams and realising what it means to have raised thousands of pounds for cancer by scoring those goals, is just amazing. It’s definitely a highlight of my time at Nottingham Forest and UK Meds hold a special place in my heart for all they’ve done to support me in this campaign. They have taken it to a place it wouldn’t have been possible otherwise. It’s my brainchild, but to have a company the size of UK Meds on my back, pushing me and driving their own initiatives to raise money is incredible.

“Some fans might take the mick out of me for the hair” Lyle adds, “but it makes waves so the plan is to continue this campaign during my playing career indefinitely. After that who knows what I might do, maybe punditry, I could be on Sky Sports News in a pink suit!”

With support from UK Meds, October 2021 was Lyle’s most successful Pink October campaign to date. Overall it raised £28,000, and puts the grand total amassed by him for Cancer Research UK at an impressive £76,000.
Graham Moran, Nottingham Forest Community Trust CEO, said: “Everybody at the Nottingham Forest Community Trust and Nottingham Forest Football Club are proud to support Lyle in his annual fund raising for Cancer Research UK. Lyle is an inspiration to everybody in how his efforts make a difference to so many people in local communities across the UK who have to deal with this indiscriminate illness. The trust and the football club are proud to keep supporting Lyle and promoting his brilliant efforts and we are pleased to have help raise over £12,000 through the sale and raffle of the pink shirts. It is great that our players are doing more than ever to support good causes and Lyle is a great example of the contribution Nottingham Forest players are making in our local communities. We also extend our sincere thanks to the club’s partners, UK Meds and PocketVet, for getting so heavily involved in helping Lyle and Cancer Research UK and raise even more funds for such an important cause.”

Becky Elphick, relationship manager at Cancer Research UK, added: “One in two people will get cancer in their lifetime, but all of us can help beat it. This past year proves, more than any other, the value of research and what can be achieved together. Just like science is our route out of the pandemic, science is our route to beating cancer. That is why the support from Lyle, UK Meds, Nottingham Forest, and everyone who has played their part by donating to this campaign, is hugely important.

“We are so proud and grateful that Lyle has managed to exceed a milestone figure of £76,000 since he began his Pink October fundraising.”

The money raised will go toward helping beat cancer sooner, supporting people like Nottingham Forest fan Sarah Cockayne, who was recently diagnosed with chronic lymphocytic leukaemia, aged just 30.

The secondary school teacher was given her cancer diagnosis, which is rare in people under the age of 40, earlier this year. Sarah said: “I’m currently being monitored to see what happens with my condition. It’s a bit ‘wait and see’, but I try to stay positive and take each day as it comes.

“I’ve managed to continue working but I’m usually too tired for anything else, so unfortunately I’ve missed the football. I’m lucky to have a close family and we’re all mad Forest fans, so it was important to me to support Cancer Research UK and everyone else working so hard to help us beat it, like the brilliant staff at City Hospital.”

According to Cancer Research UK, an estimated 3 million fewer people were screened for cancer between March and September last year, and almost three in 10 cancer patients had their treatment disrupted by Covid.
A December 2021 report from the National Audit Office found that as many as 740,000 patients missed urgent GP referrals for suspected cancer since the beginning of the first Covid lockdown, with fears of an impending cancer crisis on an unprecedented scale.