Ex-Rhinos helps out former team mate

Steve Prescott and his band of intrepid adventurers, including ex Leeds star Gary Connolly, embark on their trip of a lifetime on Monday (Aug 17) – to raise money for a cancer hospital and the RFL’s Benevolent Fund.

Steve, the former St Helens, Hull and Wakefield international full back, is leading a group of 23 cyclists off on a gruelling 800 mile ride from Catalans Dragons ground in Perpignan to Wembley Stadium.

They are also paddling 24 miles up the River Thames on a dragon boat and then running a half marathon from Uxbridge to Wembley on cup final day to present the match ball for the Huddersfield v Warrington showpiece.

Lion-hearted Steve is taking part in the event himself despite being diagnosed with terminal stomach cancer in 2006 and told he had five years to live.

The cyclists ride between 70-80 miles a day for 11 successive days climbing a total of 49,000 feet – almost twice as high as Everest.

"It’s going to be tough but a great adventure and for two very worthy causes," says Steve.

He is joined by ex players Anthony Sullivan, Paul Sculthorpe, Steve Hampson, Gary Connolly, Lee Jackson, Chris Joynt, Steve Hall, Chris Smith and Paul Barrow on the trip alongside Jimmy Gittins and Pete Stephenson who were both paralysed after breaking their neck playing amateur RL.

Also taking part is Sunday Mirror RL journalist and ex Rochdale player David Burke alongside businessmen Mike Denning, Darren Harrison, Jimmy Rothwell, Barry Ford, John Kilgannon, Shaun Keenaghan, Richard Blowman, Paul Griffiths, John Mastin and Dave Gittins.

Guest appearances on the seven-hour dragon boat journey will be made by comedian Johnny Vegas, a lifelong Saints fan, and ex RL referee Karl Kirkpatrick.

The support crew comprises Will Young, Neil Coleman, Steve White, Martin Blondel, John Parry, Hugh Denning, Helen Pennington, Becky Hinchcliffe, Alex Toms and Gary Brennand.

Steve, 35, says;"I know I have a terminal disease and will never get cured but life is for living now. My condition is stable at the moment and I am taking it one day and one scan at a time.

"We’ve all enjoyed training for the event and the more money we can raise for Christie’s Hospital in Manchester, where I’m still having treatment, and the Benevolent Fund the better."

* Donations to the fund can be made on the website: www.steveprescottfoundation.com