Founders Walk To Celebrate 120 Years

RUGBY League fans are being encouraged to take to the streets this summer to celebrate the 120th anniversary of a very special sporting revolution.

From July 19 to July 24, representatives of every section of the Rugby League community can participate in the Founders’ Walk, a historic 120-mile journey taking in the homes of the original 22 members of the Northern Union.

Organised by Rugby League Cares, the fund-raising walk commemorates the birth of Rugby League at a historic meeting at the George Hotel in Huddersfield on August 29, 1895 and will see the sport come together to celebrate its glorious past.

RFL Chief Executive Nigel Wood will be doing the walk which will begin in Hull and end in St Helens, taking in the 20 other original sites of the game’s founding clubs in between.

Each day will feature defined stages to give fans and community club players of all ages and abilities the opportunity to take part and raise funds for the sport’s charity, Rugby League Cares, their own local good cause or club.

It is hoped the walkers will include sporting celebrities, current and past players, club officials and fans whose efforts will raise £120,000 for worthy causes within the game.

RFL Chief Executive Nigel Wood said: “The 120th anniversary of Rugby League is a very significant milestone, and the Founders Walk is a terrific opportunity to celebrate our rich history and raise money to support good causes.

“Many of the original grounds have been redeveloped over time, and some of the clubs no longer exist but the Founders Walk will be a fascinating journey into the past, as well as a celebration of our great sport, for everyone who takes part.

“I’ve been asked to participate and I am delighted to do so. My colleagues have instructed me to do the full distance, so we’ll see!

“The concept is fantastic – walking 120 miles to celebrate each of our 120 years – but people can walk as far as they like on each or any of the six days and I hope that everyone in Rugby League will participate, celebrate and support in whatever way they can.

“Our sport has a rich and proud history and all efforts to celebrate are welcome.”

To register for the Founders Walk please contact Rugby League Cares Operations Manager Katie Irwin

The itinerary for the Founders Walk is as follows:

  • Sunday July 19 – Hull
  • Monday July 20 – Huddersfield, Batley, Dewsbury, Wakefield
  • Tuesday July 21 – Hunslet, Leeds, Bradford, Halifax
  • Wednesday July 22 – Rochdale, Oldham
  • Thursday July 23 – Salford, Leigh, Wigan
  • Friday July 24 – Warrington, Widnes, St Helens

The Northern Union’s 22 founding clubs were Batley, Bradford, Brighouse, Broughton, Halifax, Huddersfield, Hull FC, Hunslet, Leeds, Leigh, Liversedge, Manningham, Oldham, Rochdale, Runcorn, St Helens, Stockport, Tyldesley, Wakefield Trinity, Warrington, Widnes and Wigan.

Four clubs still play in, or on the site of, the stadium used in the first Northern Union season of 1895: Batley, Leeds, Wakefield and Widnes.

The Founders Walk is one of a series of events and activities taking place in 2015 to celebrate Rugby League’s 120th anniversary. Other activities include the unveiling of a blue plaque at the grounds of each of the 22 founding clubs; the unveiling of a statue at Wembley Stadium on the day of the Ladbrokes Challenge Cup final, Saturday August 29; and the induction of two more of the sport’s all-time greats into the Rugby League Hall of Fame.

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