Last week, Salford Red Devils visited Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital to give out selection boxes and toys to some amazingly strong children ahead of the Festive season.
The visit was made possible by a host of Salford Red Devils fans and local business donating an array of selection boxes and gifts alongside donations from the Club and we’d like to again thank everyone who contributed.
Head Coach Ian Watson said: “The visit to Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital was an honour for myself and the squad. To get to share some quality time with the staff and children was an amazing experience.
“The fact we could go in and be welcomed in the way we were was very special.
“We couldn’t believe the spirits of the strong children, many of whom may spend Christmas time there. The outstanding care that we witness was first class.
“All the squad loved the interaction with the patients and we hope to welcome many of them to Salford Red Devils games when on their way to recovery.” And, we’ve put together twenty images from our visit to Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital for you to take a look at:
Last night 857 people assembled – breaking the Guinness World Record for the largest-ever Mental Health session – at the Halliwell Jones Stadium with Salford Red Devils Football and Player Welfare Manager Paul Highton being heavily involved in the event.
Highton said: “It really was a great event and it was quite inspiring to be honest.
“I think the previous record was around 668 and we managed to get over 800 people in there, it was a massive turnout and it was fantastic to be involved in something monumental like that.
“Guinness World Record or not it was nice to see so many people coming together in the Halliwell Jones Stadium last night all for the subject of mental health.
“There’s nothing more rewarding than spreading the word of mental awareness and the crowd really lapped it up and bought into it.
“It’s one of those taboo subjects is mental health as soon as you mention it people either want to turn and walk or try and change the subject.
“The more we can talk about it and use the people who have a profile like sportspersons or public figures the more it normalises mental health. This allows people to have a platform to talk about it and just give them that ability to feel confident that what they talk about isn’t going to get shunned.”
The event centred around six speakers – one of which being Paul Highton – each giving their own talk on a specific area regarding mental health with the Red Devils Football and Player Welfare Manager discussing ‘transition’.
Highton said: “I focused on transition, so I talked about my story from being a player for twenty years then retiring and setting up a business and how I struggled with a loss of identity and structure.
“I self-medicated and drank to try and change the way I was feeling, and I was telling the people in attendance that you don’t need to go down that route and encouraging people to get hobbies.
“We’ve all got more things going on that just our jobs and it’s important we notice that and take our identities away from solely what we do for work.”
The Red Devils and Paul Highton have a very strong and positive relationship with State of Mind with Salford donning the State of Mind logo on their 2017 Dacia Magic Weekend kit.
Salford Red Devils and Widnes Vikings are set to open this year’s Betfred Super League ‘State of Mind’ round on Thursday 14th June with Paul Highton setting out the Red Devils’ stall taking out Widnes mascot Kemik the Viking at last night’s event.
Highton said: “We were doing an end-to-end kicking competition and there was me and Wolfie [Warrington Wolves’ mascot] were paired up against Ian Smith – former referee – and Kemik the Viking [Widnes Vikings’ mascot].
“Unfortunately, Kemik crossed my path so I had to drop my shoulder and knock him to the floor with his head rolling off!”
Everyone at Salford would like to congratulate everyone that was involved in the event.
He’s grown accustomed to going the extra mile for Rugby League Cares and in August Paul Highton will once again attempt to go the distance for the charity on the UK Red Ride to Wembley.
The former Salford, Halifax, Oldham and Wales back row is the seventh Rugby League international to sign up for our epic fundraiser, which sees 26 riders cycling over 300 off-road miles from Old Trafford to the Ladbrokes Challenge Cup final.
Paul was a one of 12 riders who completed the inaugural Ride to Wembley from Headingley to the national stadium last year, just 12 months after he cycled 3,000 miles from London’s Olympic Stadium to Rio de Janeiro on behalf of RL Cares.
This year he will join Gareth Ellis, Andy Lynch, Robbie Hunter-Paul, Chev Walker, Mick Cassidy and Nathan McAvoy for a challenge which involves avoiding roads wherever possible and cycling along forest trails, canal towpaths, bridleways and the occasional ploughed field.
An eighth former Rugby League international, Keith Senior, will also be involved in the ride driving one of the support vehicles.
“I had a bit of a Steve Redgrave moment last year when we reached the Wembley Legends statue after five gruelling days because I would have given permission for someone to shoot me if they saw me get back on a bike again! However, I’m really looking forward to doing it all again,” said Paul, who is currently the Football and Player Welfare Manager at Salford Red Devils.
“We raised over £20,000 for Rugby League Cares last year and I’m sure we’re going to smash that total this year, which will be brilliant.
“As well as my role with Salford, I help deliver fixtures for RL Cares on their hugely successful Offload men’s wellbeing project and I see at first hand the amazing difference the charity is making.
“Rugby League Cares is not just changing men’s lives, it’s saving lives as well, and to keep doing what it does it needs as many people as possible to get behind the Ride to Wembley.
“If I’m honest, there’s also a purely selfish motive for taking part again: as tough as it was last year, the banter was bang on and I can’t wait for another week of non-stop laughter, despite the saddle soreness and all the nettle stings!”
The 2018 UK Red Ride to Wembley leaves MediaCityUK in Salford at 8am on Monday August 20 and after riding around Old Trafford heads out across the Peak District bound for Wembley. The riders are scheduled to arrive at the Wembley Legends status on the stadium concourse around 2.00pm on Friday August 24, the eve of the 2018 Ladbrokes Challenge Cup final.
If you would like to support the work Rugby League Cares does across the whole sport please sponsor the riders on the 2018 UK Red Ride to Wembley by visiting www.justgiving.com/fundraising/ride2wembley2018. Save 10 per cent on tickets for the 2018 Ladbrokes Challenge Cup final at Wembley Stadium on Saturday, August 25 by purchasing before June 19. Tickets start from £20 for adults and can be purchased by calling the Rugby League Ticket Office on 0844 856 1113 or by visiting www.rugby-league.com/tickets .
Ahead of the Betfred Super League State of Mind round, an attempt to break the record for the World’s Largest Mental Health lesson will take place at the Halliwell Jones Stadium on Wednesday June 6 (5-7pm).
Fans are being encouraged to come along and help break the current record of 688, achieved in Chennai, India earlier this year.
State of Mind has joined forces with North West Boroughs Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, Offload Rugby League and Warrington Wolves for the event.
Former players Danny Sculthorpe, Phil Veivers, Paul Highton, Jimmy Gittins and former referee Ian Smith will be helping to deliver the session.
The lesson will be led by Dr. Phil Cooper MBE (North West Boroughs NHS) from 6pm and will last 35 minutes. There will be pre lesson entertainment from 5pm.
Phil said: “This is a great opportunity to increase awareness of mental fitness and have a great time in a fantastic rugby stadium.”
Emma Goldsmith (Rugby League Cares) who co-ordinates the mental fitness programme running from Warrington Wolves, Widnes Vikings and Salford Red Devils said: “It is going to be a great night to take part in a world record attempt and help people know more about mental health issues in an interactive session in a great location.”
Karl Fitzpatrick, CEO Warrington Wolves, said: “Warrington Wolves are completely behind this world record attempt and try to promote positive mental fitness at every opportunity for all our staff and supporters ”
Rugby league is the only UK sport to theme a round of fixtures around mental fitness, with this year’s round taking place between June 14-17.
Tickets are free and the first 1,000 tickets can be accessed via Eventbrite using the link below: www.worldlargestmentalhealthawarenesslesson.eventbrite.co.uk. If you do not wish to register online, you can just turn up on the day.
A State of Mind mental health session exclusive for the media to attend will be held in the build-up to the round on Friday June 1 at the AJ Bell Stadium, Salford (1pm). All are welcome to attend.
Salford Red Devils are excited to host our ‘2018 Season Launch’ prior to our opening pre-season friendly against local rivals Swinton Lions on Sunday 14th January at the AJ Bell Stadium.
Fans are advised to arrive early with the event set to begin at 10:30am in the 1873 suite at the AJ Bell Stadium and tickets can be purchased from the Club Ticket Office or over the phone.
Both the 2018 Salford Red Devils and Swinton Lions squads will be introduced player-by-player before interviews with former Salford and Swinton players, and now Head Coaches, Ian Watson and Stuart Littler.
There will also be interviews with Salford Red Devils CEO Ian Blease and Swinton Lions Chairman Andy Mazey as both Clubs enter new eras in 2018. In addition, Keith Fielding will be in attendance and will be interviewed during the ‘Season Launch’.
All of the above will be presented by newly appointed Player Welfare Manager and former Salford player Paul Highton.
This will also be the first opportunity for fans to visit our pop-up Steeden store which is set to be situated downstairs in the bar besides reception with tonnes of stock including our fantastic #HistoryRepeated home and away shirts available for purchase prior to our first game of 2018.
The 14th January will also mark the opening of the season for the Salford Red Devils Education Academy U16’s who face Barrow on the outside training pitch at 11am. Fans will be able to watch the game for free prior to the Swinton fixture and will still be able to catch the second half even if they come up to the ‘Season Launch’.
Tickets for our Season Launch event (including game ticket) are priced as follows:
Adult (Season Ticket Holder): £13
Concession (Season Ticket Holder): £8
Adult (Non-Season Ticket Holders): £15
Concession (Non-Season Ticket Holders): £10
Regular ticket prices for just the game are:
All Junior tickets will fall under the concession category for our pre-season game against Swinton.
Remember tickets to see this old rivalry renewed can be purchased from the Club Ticket Office between the hours of 9am-9:30pm midweek and 10am-4:30pm on weekends or you can phone 0161 786 1570. Season Tickets are also still available for purchase by visiting the Club Ticket Office, phoning 0161 786 1570 or clicking here. Remember if you want to pay for your 2018 Season Ticket over six monthly Direct Debit payments you’ll need to visit the Club Ticket Office or phone 0161 786 1570.
The Salford Red Devils Foundation were delighted to unveil a mosaic on the site of Salford’s spiritual home – The Willows. The mosaic is positioned at the centre point of the pitch at The Willows. All imagery provided by Club Photographer Steve McCormick.
The Salford Red Devils Foundation have two new sets of Offload sessions due to begin this week.
Brand-new sessions at Salford University will launch on Wednesday 18th October before a second round of sessions will begin at the Probation Office after a successful first 10-week block.
The Red Devils Foundation are also currently running Monday evening (7pm) sessions at the AJ Bell Stadium with session 7 due to take place tonight (Monday 16th) around life balance.
There are also two Princes Trust groups currently running with one being based at Walkden 6th Form College and another at Salford City Campus.
Ambassadors for the sessions include former Red Devil Paul Highton, former Salford Coach Phil Vievers, former Rugby League player Danny Sculthorpe and former Rugby League referee Ian Smith.
Offload is a Big Lottery funded project; being run by a number of partners, led by Salford Red Devils, Warrington Wolves and Widnes Vikings with Rugby League Cares. The project content has been devised by State of Mind and supported by Oddballs.
First half has personal stories and evidence based tools to build mental fitness. The second half is interactive, club based activities.
The sessions cover a range of things such as:
Basic mental fitness
Stess management techniques
Five ways to wellbeing
Solution focused problem solving
For anyone wishing to get involved or attend the Offload session contact email@example.com. Salford Red Devils Season Tickets for the 2018 season are on sale – full details here.
Former Red Devil Paul Highton is cycling from Leeds to Wembley Stadium for Rugby League Cares. The cycle started at Headingley Stadium, 8am on Monday 21st, and the team of 15 riders are set to arrive at the Wembley Legends statue on the eve of the 2017 Challenge Cup final – Friday 25th August.
Highton, speaking to Rugby League cares, said: “Cycling to Rio was one of the best experiences of my life and though the ride to Wembley is shorter, it’s going to be a fantastic five days.
“We may not have to cross the Pyrenees to reach our destination but this ride isn’t about mountain ranges or distance, it’s about overcoming the challenge of negotiating a testing off-road route.
“I’m expecting it to be tough: the bike is heavier for a start; I’m a year older and the nettles and brambles along the way are really going to hurt!
“Firstly, I’d say that nothing is going to be as tough as that first day when you don’t know what to expect your body is going to react to spending eight hours and more in the saddle.
“That feeling is like nothing else,” he added.
“Secondly, it’s important to keep your head up and take in what’s around you: how many people get to experience the beautiful countryside we have in the UK at such close quarters for five days? Soak it up!
“Finally, make sure you have a laugh: yes, there will be dark moments, and days when it feels tough, but the sun always comes out again and riding as a team is a real breeze, especially when you know you’re doing it for such a worthy cause.”
‘Highto’ has made big contributions to the men’s health and wellbeing project ‘Offload’ and has worked in conjunction with club foundations at Salford Red Devils, Widnes Vikings and Warrington Wolves.
Highton said: “Some of the impact Offload has made to the people involved has been nothing short of amazing.
“No-one was quite sure at the start whether men would buy into it but it’s been a transformational experience for a lot of people.
“The bonds that have been forged between the participants are really uplifting to witness. At Warrington, one member of the team said he was worried how he’d fill the void in his life after his 12 fixtures were up and they’ve all agreed to carry on meeting to support each other.
“It’s made a profound difference to the lives of a lot of men who previously felt they had no-where else to turn.”
To sponsor Paul, please visit his Just Giving page – www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Paul-Highton.