A CAMPAIGN led by Niall Quinn to get Wearside walking is being launched for this year.
Though the former Black Cats chairman has left the club, he still lends his name to the Niall’s Mile events staged by the SAFC Foundation.
This year’s series, which will take place in schools instead of on public walkways, will kick off at the Stadium of Light on Monday.
The mile-long walk, open to the public, will start at 2pm and will lap the pitch. Walkers are asked to congregate at the Bob Stokoe statue at 1.45pm for registration.
The launch kicks off a series of events 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 the football club’s charity in partnership with Sunderland Teaching Primary Care Trust.
Lesley Spuhler, chief executive of the SAFC Foundation, said: “I am delighted that the Sunderland Teaching Primary Care Trust is supporting this event.
“We’re hoping that lots of families will join us for the launch walk on April 2 and help kick off the start of a new, healthier phase of their lives.”
The Niall’s Mile launch walk is being held in conjunction with the North East Autism Society, of which Niall is a patron.
People are invited to take part in a mile-long walk and pledge £1 to SAFC Foundation and North East Autism Society.
Niall said: “The society helps children with autism get the best out of life. It’s fantastic to see they are expanding services to support more families across the North East.”
After Easter, the focus will switch to the region’s schools and SAFC Foundation is offering a resource pack containing information on healthy living and how it can be worked into the curriculum.
The charity hopes to host sporting festivals at 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.
Nonnie Crawford, director of public health at Sunderland City Council and Sunderland Teaching Primary Care Trust, added: “The philosophy of Niall’s Mile feeds directly into that of the Change4Life movement which encourages families and adults to eat well, move more and live longer, by making small lifestyle changes which have a huge cumulative effect on their lives.
“We are proud to be able to support an event which will help people across Sunderland take the first steps to leading healthier, and happier, lives.”
l Schools wishing to take part can contact the SAFC Foundation on 551 5191 for further information.