Taylor following in dad's footsteps as he takes on gruelling challenge to deliver cup final ball

Steve Prescott delivering the match ball at Wembley
Steve Prescott delivering the match ball at Wembley

A decade ago the late Steve Prescott was given the honour of delivering the match ball to Wembley Stadium for the Challenge Cup Final between Huddersfield Giants and Warrington Wolves.

Now in the summer of 2019, his 17-year-old son, Taylor, is ready to lead a repeat mission

Joined by some of the same familiar faces who joined his dad in 2009 – including Steve’s former St Helens team-mates Chris Joynt and Chris Smith – Taylor will confront an 865-mile bike ride, followed by a punishing 26-mile journey up the River Thames from Windsor Castle to Teddington Lock in a Dragon Boat.

Finally they will run a half marathon from RAF Uxbridge to arrive at Wembley on Saturday, August 24 – just in time for the Coral Challenge Cup Final.

Taylor will then complete the Challenge Wembley 2019 by delivering the match ball and placing it down in time for kick off – exactly as his dad did 10 years earlier.

“I am honoured to be in a position to continue my dad’s legacy,” Taylor explained.

“My dad was passionate about everything he did and the charity was extremely important to him. I have seen my mum and incredible supporters of the charity continue the great work and helping those less fortunate - and I want to do my bit.

“My dad told me the ‘Carnegie Challenge’ of 2009 was the hardest but best challenge he took on. I have a lot of work to do on strengthening my legs, improving my cycling and learning how to paddle in a dragon boat - but I am looking forward to that challenge.

''I would like to thank everyone involved with the Coral Challenge Cup for allowing me to take to the Wembley pitch and place the match ball.”

Ralph Rimmer, the chief executive of the Rugby Football League, said: “Steve was a special person, and it’s becoming increasingly evident that Taylor is a chip off the old block.

''His father has left an incredible legacy, transforming the adversity of his illness into a life-changing charity, and it’s humbling to see Taylor committing himself in the same way, at such a young age.

“We are honoured at the RFL that the sport of Rugby League is represented so inspirationally by Steve, Taylor and everyone else involved in the Foundation, and in this latest challenge.

''Having them with us at Wembley Stadium on August 24, for the Coral Challenge Cup Final will be an honour – and it goes without saying that we were delighted to grant the request for Taylor to deliver the match ball, as Steve did a decade ago.”

Others who have signed up to support Taylor include Mike Denning, the chairman of the Steve Prescott Foundation, and also Jimmy Gittins from the RFL Benevolent Fund.

There are still 12 of the 30 places available – anyone interested in joining the challenge, or offering sponsorship, should contact info@steveprescottfoundation.co.uk, or contact Martin on 07971 792859.

“It’s incredible that the original challenge was 10 years ago,” said Chris Joynt, the former Saints captain. “It seems like yesterday.

"Sadly. Steve will not be riding with us but will be there in spirit. It is great to see Taylor following in Steve’s footsteps, with the desire to continue the great man’s legacy.”

For anyone who wishes to support the Challenge but cannot take part then the Foundation will have a limited number of tickets for the Coral Challenge Cup Final at Wembley where you will be able to sit with those that have completed the challenge.

These tickets will be offered as part of a special deal under which £5 of the ticket price will be donated by the RFL to the Steve Prescott Foundation. Details of this will be available from the Foundation shortly.