FORMER Saints and Great Britain scrum half Neil Holding has launched a new walking group that he hopes will become a regular monthly, if not weekly, event for past players.

The first walk takes place this Friday morning (10 November), departing from the Carr Mill Boathouse at 10am and meeting back there at the end of the 2.4-mile route for coffees at 11.15pm.

Although it is not open exclusively to past players, the walk brings an opportunity for former teammates to meet up, talk and rekindle some of the camaraderie of their playing days while enjoying some gentle exercise.

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Neil explained: “There are number of reasons, but one of the ideas behind the starting a walking group was it maybe help to get some of the past players, who are suffering a little bit from dementia or Alzheimer’s, to get out and talk.

“At first the invitation went out to past players, but someone asked me about ex-coaches and physios – so now I think if anyone wants to come for a walk and a chat then they are welcome.

“It is a shot in the dark. If we get six or seven lads there and they do a bit of talking that is a good start, getting fellas to see people they have not seen for a long while.

"We don’t know numbers – it could end up with 30 of us.”

An elusive half back in his playing days, Holding graced the red vee 343 times in 13 seasons from 1977 to 1990 where his devastating pace off the mark and trademark chip and chase earned him four Great Britain test caps on the 1984 tour to Australia and New Zealand.

He would later return to Saints in the early Super League era as a hugely popular match-day entertainer.

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Neil and his wife Fiona are regular walkers around Carr Mill dam with their dog Floss so knows the terrain well – and he will work out the most suitable route for the weather conditions ahead of Friday morning.

He said: “The walk will not be too exerting and will last around a hour but obviously make sure you are up to it and bring suitable clothing.

“Given the weather it is a morning for walking boots or preferably wellies if you have them.

“I’ll be supervising the walk, but if anyone can’t manage it they can still come and stay in the Boathouse and have a drink – we have Chris Arkwright in charge of the teas and coffees.”

Parking is free at the Boathouse, walkers are asked to meet there on Friday at 9.45am for a 10am start.