Born in Brent in North London in 1957, Errol McKellar’s first 53 years revolved mainly around football, family and work. He’s been a youth team coach and scout with Leyton Orient and several other London clubs for almost 30 years and worked with many future stars including the young David Beckham, Ashley Cole and Sol Campbell.
Until his retirement last year he ran a small garage in Hoxton, specialising in MOT’s and repairs. And his home life also keeps him very busy as he has 7 children and step-children and a large extended family across London and Essex.
However, Errol’s entire life changed in 2010 when he was diagnosed with aggressive prostate cancer.
He didn’t have any symptoms but whilst waiting for an appointment with his GP he read a leaflet about the illness and asked to be tested. His PSA level came back a bit high and further tests revealed he had 92% prostate cancer.
In February 2011 Errol had an operation to remove his prostate and went on to have three months of radiotherapy and has now been given the all clear, although he is continually dealing with some of the serious side effects from his treatment, including bladder control and erectile dysfunction.
Since then he’s dedicated his life to making men aware of the dangers of prostate cancer and encouraging them to get tested. This became especially effective when Errol randomly decided to encourage the men who went into his garage to go and speak to their GP about their risk and have a PSA test, and in return he offered them discounts on their MOT.
“I said to my customers, when was the last time you had your prostate checked? You brought your car in here for me to check because there’s a problem. Do you know what’s going on in your own inside? Men need to talk about it even if they don’t want to. I talk to men of all ages. I talk to women too because they get the message across to their men. I try and spread the message every single day. I want to reach men before it’s too late. I really believe we can beat this.
As a direct result of these offers Errol has helped save the lives of almost 50 of his customers who would not otherwise have been aware they had prostate cancer.
Errol is one of Prostate Cancer UK’s main ambassadors and, along with Linford Christie, David Haye, Danny John-Jules, Viv Anderson, Chuka Umunna and Benjamin Zephaniah is fronting their Stronger Knowing More campaign, which encourages black men to get PSA tests.
He is also an ambassador for Go Dad Run which was created in 2013 by triple world champion athlete Colin Jackson to raise awareness of prostate cancer and other men’s health issues.
In 2012 Errol was chosen to be one of the Olympic torch bearers in Hackney and in 2016 his volunteer work in the community was recognised by the Prime Minister when he was presented with a Points of Light Award. In 2018 Errol set up and launched The Errol McKellar Foundation and was invited to 10 Downing Street to talk to the Prime Minister, Secretary of State for Health and the Head of NHS England about the prostate cancer awareness work his new charity will undertake.