Niall Quinn calls on Sunderland fans to help with Beacon of Light fundraising walk

Former Sunderland AFC chairman Niall Quinn on a Niall's Mile walking event.
Former Sunderland AFC chairman Niall Quinn on a Niall's Mile walking event.
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Sunderland legend Niall Quinn is set to pull on his walking boots once again to help out the Foundation of Light - and he wants others to join him on the trek.

The former striker, manager and chairman is challenging fans to join him walking Hadrian’s Wall in September to raise funds for education centre the Beacon of Light.

Niall Quinn celebrates with his Sunderland strike partner Kevin Phillips.

Niall Quinn celebrates with his Sunderland strike partner Kevin Phillips.

The Beacon’s main structure is now in place and construction is due to be completed by summer 2018 – but the Foundation of Light needs to raise £2million to complete and kit out the building.

Niall said: “I have a huge amount of affection for Sunderland and the North East but it’s not without its challenges.

“The Beacon of Light has been designed to help lots of people become healthier and more active to address some of these real challenges facing our region.

“It will be a first for the UK but we still need help to finish it.”

Artist's impression of the Beacon of Light.

Artist's impression of the Beacon of Light.

Niall launched ‘Niall’s Mile’ in 2009 in a drive to get more people active with thousands getting involved every year since - last year participants aged from one to 81-years-old.

The Hadrian’s walk challenge, led by experienced walking guides, will take place on Sunday, September 17, taking a 17.5 mile route from Walltown Quarry to the George at Chollerford - and should take around eight to eight and a half hours to complete.

Walkers will see views of Crag Lough, pass Housesteads Roman Fort, Brocolitia Roman Temple and probably the most famous tree in the country at Sycamore Gap.

Niall added: “The walk is challenging due to the distance but there are no huge hills so it’s perfect for anyone wanting to take part in a charity challenge without having to run long distances or drive the length of the country.

“I’m a big believer that charity should begin on our doorstep and help local people and the Beacon of Light will combine education, health and well-being and sport together in one place the Beacon will encourage more families to develop healthier lives.”

The sign-up fee is £20 and each walker must pledge to raise a minimum of £150 for the Beacon of Light to complete the Hadrian’s Walk Challenge.

Foundation Ambassador and former Black Cats goalkeeper Jimmy Montgomery also recently asked more local people to get involved in the Beacon campaign, saying: “Some of the statistics about our region make for uncomfortable reading and with the increased cuts to public services some will only get worse unless more people get involved.

For more further information about the charity walk or to sign up call 0191 5515153 or email: cherie.lauder@foundationoflight.co.uk.