Rural men, including the ''six-foot tall and bullet-proof variety'', are invited to a men's health night at the Lawrence Golf Club on Friday, September 27, from 7.30pm.

Tuapeka Community Health Company manager Mark Chapman said the men-only event was designed to encourage both urban and rural men to think more about their health.

''It would be good to talk about men's health to men among their peers and friends,'' he said.

They also asked local men Lawrence and Alexandra shearing contractor Jock Martin, farmer Gary Crawford and former school teacher Bill Lovell Smith to talk about their health experiences and the support they needed.

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Dunedin cardiologist Dr Jerry Wilkins and dairy farmer Dylan Ditchfield were also invited to speak.

Martin said he would be talking about his recent heart attack.

He woke up early one morning in June, feeling extremely uncomfortable, had a drink of water and then went back to bed and later ''carried on with the day''.

Tuapeka Community Health Company manager Mark Chapman. Photo / Yvonne O'Hara
Tuapeka Community Health Company manager Mark Chapman. Photo / Yvonne O'Hara

''I thought it was a bad case of heartburn, but it wasn't,'' Martin said.

''I left it [going to the doctor], as we were going to Dunedin to do some shopping [that day].

''The extreme chest pains started kicking in and the alarm bells went off.

''I was buying Quick-Eze and trying to walk it off.''

He said it got worse so he ''did a sneaky visit'' to the emergency doctor and after two blood tests and two ECGs, was admitted to hospital.

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''I had one or two stents put in and a cholesterol lesion removed.

''That was after I was having a great debate with my wife on the way to Dunedin in the car about my health.

''Now I am learning to deal with the challenge and on half a dozen pills a day for the rest of my life.

''It made me feel very vulnerable and I thought this can't be happening, and it is not meant to happen to me.''

His talk would be about his experience and the signs to look for.

He had also learned that if the doctor told him something, to take notice, rather than ignore it.

''On a lighter side, I am not an overweight person and halfway reasonably fit.

''A mate of mine said I had done him the world of good as he has since lost 10kg.''

Chapman said both urban and rural men of any age who were responsible for their own health were invited to attend.

''The more people we can assist with long-term the better,'' he said.

''Most men, and rural men in particular, think they are six-foot tall and bullet-proof and are reluctant to come to the doctor.

''We want to look after the health needs of everybody in the community.''

The organisers approached the Lawrence Lions Club to partner them with the evening.

''They are a great organisation with good pulling power to put something together,'' he said.

He said many farmers spent a lot of time working on their own, so the evening would also be a social occasion.

Many men were reluctant to go to the doctor, especially if they noticed any changes within their body, and he urged them to be proactive with their own health.

- This month is Blue September month for prostate cancer awareness, and this week [September 23 to 29] is Mental Health Awareness week.