A SENIOR figure at Wiltshire Council is stepping down after confirming that he has just months left to live with prostate cancer.

Cllr Jerry Wickham, 58, says he and his family’s hopes have been dashed after being told doctors could do no more against the aggressive illness.

He had been due to announce plans to take over from Baroness Jane Scott as leader of Wiltshire Council on Thursday but is now urging more men to get checked out for the early signs of what he called the “silent killer”.

He said: “A man dies of prostate cancer every 45 minutes and that to me is a startling figure. I am 58 now and was diagnosed when I was 55. It is a rare form of the cancer and it is aggressive. Mine has effectively fought any treatment we have tried. My family and I have been on this journey for two and-a-half years now and there has been a lot of expectation and hope that has then been dashed. I have now been told I have months left, which is less than we thought and we have had to hear from the doctors that there is nothing else they can do.

“There isn’t enough time, it is far too short. But there are symptoms people can look out for. Mine was picked up after I noticed blood in my urine. As soon as I noticed this I got an appointment straight away. Other things people can look out for is getting up to wee several times in the night. We know some men won’t always visit the doctor but I cannot stress how important it is to go if something doesn’t seem right.

“I had hoped to put as much enthusiasm into the leader role as I had with Adult Social Care and I am proud that I have got prevention into the way this council works. I have always believed this council must look after its vulnerable and prevention means that the health services are joined up. That is my legacy.”

He steps down from his role as cabinet meber for adult social care. Cllr Wickham confirmed leaders will now take several weeks to reflect before making a decision about who will step forward to replace Baroness Scott when she steps down, expected to be in July.

Cllr Wickham added: “I’m sure someone will come forward as the leader and I will be clapping them on and giving them my full support.”

Cllr Jon Hubbard said: “We extend our best wishes to Jerry. Personally I’m absolutely gutted to see treatment hasn’t gone as he hoped. He is an icon of what a local councillor should be.”