niall Quinn returned to the club where he reached hero status to lap its pitch once more.
The former Sunderland AFC chairman was at the Stadium of Light to launch this year’s Niall’s Mile, a series of community walking events.
He stepped down from his role as head of international development at the club in February, bringing to a close an iconic era at the home of the Black Cats.
Midfielder David Meyler joined his former boss yesterday to take part in the mile-long walk in aid of the SAFC Foundation and the North East Autism Society, of which Niall is a patron.
Niall said: “The day has been great fun and there’s a lovely atmosphere here. It’s good to see the North East Autism Society and SAFC Foundation come together for the event.
“On top of the physical side, the launch walk serves the purpose of raising much-needed funds for the North East Autism Society and the foundation as it lets the world know the value of both groups.”
A series of events will be held throughout schools and communities designed to encourage healthy living and promote the benefits of exercise.
Now in its fourth year, Niall’s Mile has been organised by SAFC Foundation in partnership with Sunderland Teaching Primary Care Trust.
Unlike previous Niall’s Miles, which were held at parks and walkways, this year’s event will focus on the region’s schools.
SAFC Foundation is offering schools a resource pack containing information on healthy living and how it can be worked into their curriculum.
The charity hopes to host sporting festivals at a number of schools and undertake a mile-long walk at each.
The programme concludes with a grand finale celebration and walk at the Stadium of Light on May 5 for families.
Participants will also be able to join in a High Carb Party being held for runners taking part in the Sunderland City 10k, Marathon of the North and Junior Run (3km for runners aged 11-15 years) the next day.