Paralysed John joins Walk for Cancer

Thirty years ago, rugby league star John Burke suffered a horrific injury which left him paralysed from the waist down.

John signed for Workington from Wigan in the late 70s but tragedy struck soon after his arrival, leaving him dependent on a wheelchair.

On October 1, he will join former Saints star Steve Prescott and Leigh legend Tommy Martyn on the Leigh to Wigan stretch of the Steve Prescott Walk for Cancer 2008.

It is all in aid of the charity which has helped John regain his independence.

Fund-raisers are preparing to tour 23 rugby grounds, covering 242 miles over 14 days, for the Steve Prescott Foundation's chosen charities, the Christie Hospital and the Rugby League Benevolent Fund.

Since it was established, the Rugby League Benevolent Fund has helped John in various ways, including the provision of ongoing garden maintenance at his house and the recent installation of an accessible wet room.

John, from Leigh, said: "I was injured the day after my 21st birthday and it's taken a lot of adjusting over the years to come to terms with things but the people of Leigh, the rugby community and the charity have always been a fantastic source of support."

The Steve Prescott Foundation was established after Steve was diagnosed

with a rare form of stomach cancer in 2006. Since then he has worked to raise money for his foundation's charities.

Rugby star Tommy Martyn will also be flying the flag for Leigh, as he walks the full 242 miles from Hull KR's Craven Stadium to Old Trafford.

Tommy played alongside Steve Prescott at Saints.

He said: "You don't know much about these illnesses until they happen to someone close to you and Steve is a great friend.

"There was a massive turnout in Leigh last year and we are hoping for the same again this year."

The rugby stars are appealing to local businesses and the people of Leigh to support the event in any way they can.

Anybody interested in participating in the event or sponsoring John and the other fund-raisers, should log on to the Steve Prescott Foundation website at www.steveprescottfund.co.uk, or contact organiser Martin Blondel on 07971 792859.