MEMBERS of Ards Rugby Club have paid a fitting tribute to their late player and friend in raising the highest amount of money by any organisation from Ireland in this year’s Movember campaign. The feat comes one year on from the devastating loss to suicide of Ryan ‘Millsy’ Mills, who was part of the group involved with the same campaign in 2021.

    With Ryan at the forefront of everyone’s minds this time around, the 2022 effort, taking on the name of ‘Millsy’s Movember’ and with 45 participants, has seen Ards amass a staggering final fundraising total of over £25,000, which not only tops the Irish leaderboard but is also the second highest in the UK as a whole. “What happened to Ryan knocked everyone for six and this year, we wanted to send out a message of support to his family,” explained Movember team captain and club committee captain Chris Allen. “Ryan was a working class lad and we’re a working class club in a working class town, so to achieve the number as high as what we have has been pretty overwhelming, to be honest. “There were 20 of us who raised just under £5,000 last year and Ryan was among the group,” continued Chris. “I remember at the time, we thought that was pretty incredible and I know it was a struggle for some of the guys to raise any more than £100. “We’re a club made up of mostly younger guys and since Ryan’s passing, there has been a group set up within the club to make everyone aware that it’s okay to talk about how you’re feeling,” he said. “We want our members to know that if they are struggling, there are people here at the club who they can speak to and three of those are Simon Hamilton, Jilly Shaw and Dayle Jones.”


    Movember is the leading charity changing the face of men’s health, tackling the issues of mental health and suicide prevention, prostate cancer and testicular cancer. In 2003, Travis Garone and Luke Slattery, two friends from Melbourne, Australia were having a quiet beer when their conversation turned to recurring fashion trends. The moustache, a fixture in past decades, was nowhere to be seen in recent trends and they joked about bringing it back, talking their mates into growing a ‘mo’.

    Inspired by a friend’s mother who was fundraising for breast cancer, they decided to make the campaign about men’s health and prostate cancer and designed the rules of Movember, which are still in place today. 30 men took up the challenge with such enthusiasm that in 2004, a decision was made to formalise the concept and get all participants growing for a cause.

    Since then, Movember has funded more than 1,250 men’s health projects around the world, challenging the status quo, shaking up men’s health research and transforming the way health services reach and support men. Ards Rugby are already plotting their next undertaking for charity, with members looking forward to a ‘Biggest Loser’ weight loss challenge after the indulgence of the festive period.

    To read more about Ards Rugby’s Movember campaign, visit the club Facebook page or go to and search for Ards RFC.