The start of the growing season is here, with thousands heading off to their local garden centre. As well as tips on how to look after their plants, visitors to Hillier in Eastbourne will soon also be given advice on looking after their skin.
Hillier is joining over 170 major garden centres across the UK in promote Watch Your Back! a sun protection campaign backed by a team of celebrity gardeners, including Alan Titchmarsh, Charlie Dimmock, Joe Swift, Toby Buckland, Andy Sturgeon, Anne Swithinbank, David Domoney and David Stevens.
The campaign, now in its second year, was devised by the Myfanwy Townsend Melanoma Research Fund and is also supported by the Garden Centre Association, The Professional Gardeners Guild and The National Allotment Society.
Although we are all vulnerable, Watch Your Back! targets men over 50 who spend a lot of time outdoors as they are 70% more likely to develop melanoma, typically on their backs and in areas that are hard to spot leading to a later diagnosis.
Melanoma rates in the UK have more than quadrupled over the last 30 years, however many of us, especially men, still don’t understand the need, or have the motivation to use sun protection regularly, check skin for signs of change or know what to look out for. This attitude may explain why more people in the UK die from melanoma than in Australia or New Zealand, both of which have the highest incidence in the world.
To help impact this, Hillier is promoting the following advice:
PROTECT: Wear SP30 sunscreen, sleeves, a hat and seek shade between 11am and 3pm
DETECT: Regularly check skin for changes and ensure you know what to look out for
PREVENT: Melanoma and other skin cancers, but enjoy your time outside
The campaign has the support of a number of high profile horticulturalists. “This campaign makes huge sense and reminds gardeners that their own health is every bit as important as that of their plants,” says Alan Titchmarsh MBE. “Too many of us are unaware of the true dangers of over-exposure to the sun, and how sunburn can lead to melanoma and other skin cancers,” comments Joe Swift.
Top tips from the experts
The charity has worked with Mr Siva Kumar and Mr Samuel Orkar from the MASCU (Melanoma & Skin Cancer Unit) at Queen Victoria Hospital in East Grinstead to produce a set of sun protection tips, a guide to skin checking and information on how to keep skin healthy, designed especially for all gardeners.
Visit www.melanoma-fund.co.uk for further details.
Book a skin check at Hillier Garden Centre Eastbourne
Hillier Garden Centre Eastbourne will be hosting a Skin Check Clinic, overseen by Mr Siva Kumar and his team, on Saturday 20th May from 10am – 3pm. If you would like to book a spot, visit: