Scholes and Butt join March of the Day challenge for MND

Participants pose for group shot at Bolton
Participants reached the halfway stage at Bolton Wanderers' ground on Saturday

Former football stars Paul Scholes and Nicky Butt have joined a 178-mile march in support of those affected by motor neurone disease (MND).

The ex-Manchester Utd players said they wanted to do their "small bit" as they joined in for part of the March of the Day challenge.

Led by former footballers Stephen Darby and Marcus Stewart, who have MND, the trek started in Bradford on Friday.

It will pass by 17 other grounds before reaching the end at Anfield on Sunday.

Stewart, who played for Bristol Rovers and Sunderland, said they were "trying our best to find a cure" for the life-limiting condition, which affects brain and nerve cells.

Scholes, who joined a windy trek over the Pennine hills through the night, told BBC Breakfast: "Marcus played at Huddersfield and lived quite near me so I've got quite close to him over the last couple of years and his family, so I said I'd back [the march].

"What little support we can give is important to everyone."

His former Manchester United colleague Nicky Butt added: "When you're a sportsperson, you think you're bullet-proof and that nothing's going to touch you, you're always on a crest of a wave.

"But it's not - things like this hit you straight away and before you know it, you're in a situation that no one wants to be in."

Motor neurone disease

Former football players Marcus Stewart (left) and Stephen Darby, who have been diagnosed with motor neurone disease
Marcus Stewart and Stephen Darby are spearheading the football community's response to MND
  • MND is an uncommon condition which mainly affects people in their 60s and 70s, but it can affect adults of all ages.

  • Symptoms happen gradually and include weakness in ankle or leg, slurred speech, difficulty in swallowing, a weak grip and weight loss.

  • There is currently no cure but treatments can reduce the impact and some people live with the condition for many years.

Source: NHS

The March of the Day challenge is raising funds for the Darby Rimmer MND Foundation, which supports those dealing with the condition and gives grants for medical research.

Former rugby league player Kevin Sinfield is expected to join the trek later as he continues to raise awareness of MND following the diagnosis of former teammate Rob Burrow.

Sinfield has completed a number of ultra-marathons to raise funds and was recently awarded a CBE along with Burrow.

Why not follow BBC Manchester on Facebook, X and Instagram? You can also send story ideas to