Rugby match ball walk raising cancer charity funds

A group of friends in rugby tops
Phillip Grisewood (middle) said he would be cheering the walkers along in a support vehicle [Phillip Grisewood]

A group of friends have set off on a 36-mile (58km) walk to deliver a rugby matchday ball to raise funds, in honour of a man who is having his lower leg amputated.

The MacMillion, made up of about 15 people, set off at 22:00 BST on Friday from Welford Road, the home of Leicester Tigers, and are due at Northampton Saints' Franklins Gardens at about 11:00.

Six years ago Phillip Grisewood, from Daventry, was diagnosed with cancer and a new tumour means part of his leg needs to be removed.

He said the support from everyone taking part to raise funds for Macmillan Cancer Support had been "incredible".

A group of walkers posing for a photo by a canal
The walkers took part in a few stomps before the big day [Phillip Grisewood]

In total, the group is expected to collectively walk more than one million steps.

The friends are doing to it raise awareness and funds for early cancer detection and recognise the work of the medical teams at Northampton General Hospital and University Hospital Leicester, which have treated Mr Grisewood.

Six years ago he was diagnosed with renal cancer, but since then more tumours have been found, meaning his lower leg will be amputated later this year.

The Saints' mascot Bernie, hugging Abi Grisewood at a Saints game
Saints' mascot Bernie will not be on the walk, but Abi Grisewood, Phillip's daughter, will be [Phillip Grisewood]

Mr Grisewood said the walkers would arrive at about 11:00 at The Saints, "providing we don't get distracted by too many pubs in the last part of the journey".

He has been supporting his friends from "the warmth of a car", as he is unable to walk long distances, and has been "shouting motivational messages from the window".

"I did suggest that I could be piggy-backed or taken along in a sedan chair or wheelbarrow, but got no response from the group," he said.

Saints player Courtney Lawes, who leaves the club at the end of the season, wished Mr Grisewood and his team the very best.

"It's going to be tough, but you've got this brother. We're all behind you and we'll see you at the game," he said.

Mr Grisewood said those taking part were "absolute stalwarts", adding the support was "incredible".

Northampton v Leicester kicks off on Saturday at 15:05 BST.

Philip Grisewood, James How, Dave Walker and Liam Bullough, at a Saints game
(Left to right) Philip Grisewood, James How, Dave Walker and Liam Bullough came up with the idea for the walk [Phillip Grisewood]

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