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Bradford Bulls coach Francis Cummins’ wife signs up for WAGS challenge
Francis Cummins faced a mountainous task when he took the reins as Bulls coach last September, but his wife Katy is embarking on a similarly steep challenge.
Katy is heading a team of Bulls WAGS who will scale the heights of Ben Nevis in a charity trek on July 20.
Katy, Ashley Kearney, Jessica L’Estrange, Lauren Walker, Alice Scruton, Gaynor Diskin, Kerryanne Sidlow, Georgia Louise Smith and Rosie Laycock – the latter two being the partners of James Donaldson and Jamie Langley – will bid to negotiate the highest mountain in the British Isles.
Over 70 wives and girlfriends of Super League players will take part in the walk in the Scottish Highlands and funds raised will go towards the Life For A Kid foundation.
The Hull-based charity was set up in March 2009 on the back of the fundraising efforts of the Great Britain Rugby League All Stars.
It helps children under the age of 16 to lead a better life, in particular those who require life-saving or life-changing operations.
The WAGS’ walk in July follows a previous Ben Nevis trek carried out by Dean Hoggard, Life For A Kid’s head of operations, and a number of models.
Katy said: “Dean’s previous walk was a success and he put a message out on Twitter asking if anyone would like to take part in 2013.
“Kirk Yeaman’s wife Lisa got in touch with him and Danny Tickle’s girlfriend Pauline said she would also be keen to take on the challenge.
“Dean suggested a ‘WAGS walk’ and asked Lisa and Pauline to spread the word before a Facebook group was created.
“Personally when I saw it, my immediate thought was ‘wow, I’d love to take on the challenge’.
“I like to try new things and thought it was a fabulous opportunity to help poorly children and to say I’ve climbed Ben Nevis!”
Then the reality of it all hit Katy as she juggles her hectic schedule as the mother of three young children and job as an arts teacher at a school in Leeds.
Katy and the Bulls boss are parents to Gabby, 13, Mitch, ten, and five-year-old Jackson.
She also runs her own small art business ‘What Katy Did Next’ and said: “I thought to myself, can I climb Ben Nevis? Can I fit it into my family’s hectic life? Can my body cope?
“It literally took me about two minutes to ask myself these questions, then sign up!
“I’ve always been a very active person, playing sports, going to the gym and I’ve even been known to take on the Bulls’ ‘Fat Dogs’ at touch rugby!”
The acronym WAG rose to prominence during the 2006 World Cup in Germany, when several partners of England footballers stayed near the team camp in the spa town of Baden Baden.
Their well-publicised shopping trips and visits to restaurants threatened to overshadow the action on the pitch.
Katy added with a huge smile: “I’ve never really liked the term WAG – although on this occasion, as it is for charity, I will allow myself to be a senior WAG!
“I’ve never classed myself as a WAG, though, and was actually watching and supporting Francis playing a long time before it was used by the media.
“It was brought to light by footballers’ wives who, in my eyes, were just that: a wife or a girlfriend of a football player.
“But rugby is very different to football. Us WAGS can’t afford to live off our husbands’ wages and wouldn’t want to anyway.
“I have always worked and been brought up to understand that, if you want something, then you have to work for it.”
Her husband’s reign in charge of the Bulls began with a thumping victory over Wakefield last weekend and Katy’s own schedule has become more hectic than ever.
She quipped: “I keep myself extremely busy – but I’m loving every minute of it!”
* To sponsor the Bulls’ WAGS, go to http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/RugbyWag