A host of celebrities and royals are backing a campaign by a new UK charity to raise awareness about prostate cancer.

Prostate Cancer UK - created by the merger of The Prostate Cancer Charity and Prostate Action - launched its MANifesto campaign this week, which it describes as the “most significant and ambitious plan in the history of men’s health”.

The MANifesto pledges to triple investment in research into the disease to £25 million, increase support services for men in the UK, and to increase awareness of the disease, the organisation and its services by launching what its calling “a major mass media communications and PR offensive”.

It was launched at the May Fair Hotel in central London, with guests including HRH the Duchess of Gloucester, former Liberal Party Leader Lord Steel, Lady Archer, PR guru Max Clifford, broadcaster Neil Fox, ex-footballer Mark Bright, comedian David Schneider, and radio presenter Mark Goodier, to name but a few.

Broadcaster Neil Fox, whose father died of prostate cancer, said: “For all too long men’s cancers have just not been high enough up the agenda. From today onwards, Prostate Cancer UK has vowed to ensure all that changes. The launch of the new movement, and its comprehensive MANifesto, promises a new era of hope for men and men’s health.”

Owen Sharp, chief executive of Prostate Cancer UK, added: “Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men. It is as big an issue for men as breast cancer is for women, and is projected to be the most common cancer overall by 2030. Despite these hard facts it is just not on the radar. It has suffered from a prolonged period of neglect and underinvestment, leaving us decades behind where we need to be.”

He said the charity would triple its investment in research, with the aim of becoming the largest single funder of prostate cancer research in the UK.