15th July 2015, 12:50 |
The 1,000th walker today signed up for the Founders Walk, a fund-raising initiative that aims to raise £120,000 for Rugby League good causes by celebrating the sport’s 120th birthday.
Organised in association with Rugby League Cares, the Founders Walk takes place over six days starting in Hull on Sunday (July 19) and concluding in St Helens next Friday (July 24), taking in the original grounds of Rugby League’s 22 founding clubs along the way.
The majority of the walkers have signed up to do either a full day or a leg of one of the days with most having secured sponsorship from friends, family and colleagues.
Good causes that are already lined up to benefit include Rugby League Cares, the Danny Jones campaign, Joining Jack and a host of community clubs and junior clubs.
RFL Chief Executive Nigel Wood, who is leading the walk across all six days, said: “It’s terrific that we now have over 1,000 people signed up to take part in what will be a memorable experience for everyone involved.
“The walk takes in some very famous Rugby League grounds, and some which are less well known, and is a great opportunity for fans to celebrate their club’s – and their own – part in our very special sporting history.
“We want to have lots of fun on the way but, more importantly, we want to raise as much money as possible for good causes within the sport.
“There is still plenty of time to sign up for the walk and with most schools breaking up this week it would be fantastic to see as many youngsters as possible join in.”
Rugby League was founded at a meeting at the George Hotel in Huddersfield on August 29, 1895 when clubs broke away from the Rugby Football Union, which refused to sanction ‘broken time’ payments to players who had to take time off work on a Saturday to play.
Just four of the 22 founding clubs still play at, or on the site of their original home: Batley Bulldogs, Leeds Rhinos, Wakefield Trinity Wildcats and Widnes Vikings, and the walk will take in Fox’s Biscuits Stadium, Headingley Carnegie Stadium, Belle Vue and Select Security Stadium en route.
The walk will also visit the locations of long-lost grounds such as Wheaters Field, the home of Broughton Rangers; Fletcher Street in Warrington; Huddersfield’s Fartown; Hunslet Parkside; and Valley Parade in Bradford, the home of Manningham, a Northern Union club which switched codes in 1899 to become Bradford City.
Later this year the RFL will unveil a blue heritage plaque at each of the 22 sites and the walk is a wonderful opportunity for the young and not-so-young to step into history and fundraise for their local community club or charity along the way.
Many of the legs of the walk will feature ‘celebrity’ appearances from the sport’s players, coaches and administrators, giving fans the chance to rub shoulders with their heroes
Further information on the route on each of the six days, plus details of how to sign up for the Founders Walk, can be found by visiting the Rugby League Cares website, www.rugbyleaguecares.org/founders_walk_2015
Brief details of the Founders Walk are below:
Day One (Sunday July 19) is an eight-mile stroll around Hull, starting from the Walton Street car park and taking in The Boulevard before ending at the KC Stadium. (1.30pm start
Day Two (Monday July 20) starts at Fartown in Huddersfield and passes through Brighouse, Batley and Dewsbury before reaching Wakefield Trinity at the end of the 20-mile stage. (9.30am start)
Day Three (Tuesday July 21) covers 24.5 miles between Hunslet and Halifax, taking in Headingley, Manningham, Bradford Park Avenue and Illingworth on the way. (9.30am start
Day Four (Wednesday July 22) is 22 miles starting at Rochdale and ending at Edgeley Park via Oldham. (9.30am start)
Day Five (Thursday July 23) is when weary legs will be tested over 22.5 miles between Wheater Street in Broughton and the DW Stadium in Wigan. (9.30am start)
Day Six (Friday July 24) sees the walk conclude with a 23-mile stage between Fletcher Street in Warrington and Langtree Park in St Helens. (9.30am start)