A TESTICULAR cancer survivor is set to embark on a gruelling coast-to-coast walk in a bid to raise awareness and urge other men to get checked out.

Dez Gawne will admit it took him "some time" to see his GP after discovering a lump in his right testicle last summer.

The 47-year-old was diagnosed with Stage 1 cancer and within just a few weeks went under the knife to have it removed and his prognosis looks good but he will have tests every two to three months for the next 10 years to check the disease hasn't returned.

"Men don't like to talk about it," Mr Gawne, a bus driver for Stagecoach, said.

"There's plenty of awareness and talk about breast cancer, cervical cancer and now improved awareness about prostate cancer, but it seems to me that men just don't want to talk about it.

"I found the lump myself; it took me some time to go and see the doctor, I knew it was cancer."

A year on from his operation, former firefighter and bouncer Mr Gawne, who lives on Walney, is determined to help other men to confront their fears before it is too late.

"After I had the operation I decided to grow my beard and dye it blue," he said.

"Then when I got people's attention, and they'd ask why, I could tell them my story and show them it's nothing to hide or be ashamed of."

The dad-of-two is now preparing to walk from Whitby to Walney in July to raise money for Testicular Cancer Awareness by trekking - blue beard proudly on display - along the rural roads across the country.

A support vehicle, in the form of a campervan donated for the three-day walk by Bardsea Leisure of Ulverston, will follow the route while Mr Gawne makes his way from Whitby to Leeming Bay to Kendal and finally on to Walney.

"It's 130 miles in total and I'll be setting off on July 7 and getting back here on July 10," Mr Gawne said.

"I can't thank my boss Willie McPhail at Stagecoach in Barrow enough; they've supported me the whole way through my cancer journey, and have vowed to make a significant donation when I finish the walk."

Other corporate supporters include Bay Towage, HSP Milners and the Furness Railway, whose doormen will be collecting for the campaign when on duty. A welcome home party is planned at the Abbey Road pub on Mr Gawne's return.

To donate to his appeal visit his JustGiving page HERE .