Friends, family and former teammates of Steve Gartland will come together this Sunday for a walk in his memory to raise fund for Andy’s Man Club.
The group will set off from Rochdale Mayfield on Sunday morning and walk to Oldham St Annes, where Mayfield’s under-13s are taking on Waterhead in the final of the Oldham Cup.
The distance is six miles and the walk will take place on November 6 – the number that Gartland, who died in August following a battle with depression, wore for the majority of his playing career.
Shaun Gartland, Steve’s older brother said: “The family would like to say thank you to both clubs and everybody else that has offered their condolences, and the help that they have given us.
“Some of Steve’s former teammates like Matt Calland and Neil Flanagan will be doing the walk with us, as well as some of Mayfield’s first team.
“We’re also going to set up the Steve Gartland Foundation that will look to help whichever local charities we deem worthy – it could be a kid in Oldham or Rochdale that needs a special wheelchair, or an under-12s team that needs some tackle bags.
“Steve would have loved something like that.
“Bradley (Steve’s son) has been involved with Luke Ambler’s Andy’s Man Club, and donations to the walk will be going towards that.”
Gavin Reynolds is the coach of Mayfield’s under-13s side that will play in the final on Sun-day, and says that the walk is the perfect way to pay tribute to Gartland, who was a mentor to him at the club.
Reynolds said: “Steve was my go-to person at Mayfield really, because he’d had so much success with the junior teams here.
“Before he started that, Mayfield were pulling in players from all over the place, but now so many of the first team are homegrown and that’s down to Steve.
“If I was struggling with a coaching issue I’d drop him an email, and he’d send me a drill with a diagram back straight away, explaining it.
“He always had time for everybody, and because he was so approachable, a lot of people classed him as a friend rather than a rugby acquaintance.
“Sunday is also a chance to say thank you to people for their support – I know people like Bradley have taken solace in the way everybody has stuck together.”
People can make donations for the walk at: https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/SG6.