A NEW rugby shirt featuring colours that represent both Keighley Cougars and Silsden Rugby League Club has been created to support a former Cougars captain diagnosed with a serious illness.

Proceeds from the sale of these charity shirts will back a campaign announced following news that Phil Stephenson, 45, had been diagnosed with motor neurone disease.

The campaign is raising cash to support the Motor Neurone Disease (MND) Association.

Mr Stephenson, who lives in Cowling, played 343 games for the Cougars in a 15-year spell, but he came out of retirement and played a few months for Silsden in early 2016.

He also coaches the U12s team at Silsden Storm.

Silsden are organising an MND Charity Game at Silsden Park for August 19, which will give players and fans a chance to wear the new "half and half" shirts.

Silsden club coach Chris Greenwood said: "The game will involve the Silsden current squad playing against past Silsden players, but it's an open invite to anybody who knows or played with Stevo to come and pull a shirt on."

Keighley firm Clever Energy Boilers and Cross Hills based company J Carey Design have come forward to sponsor the game.

Mr Stephenson's wife, Karen, said: "The shirts are a mix of colours to represent Silsden and Cougars, and all will have Phil's autograph printed onto them too.

"They can be ordered through Silsden Rugby League on Facebook."

Mrs Stephenson will be running the Manchester Half Marathon on October 15 in aid of the MND Association. And her husband was due to walk the Yorkshire Three Peaks on Sunday (July 9) for the same cause.

She said: "For the half marathon we now have 12 runners, including myself, and we have raised between us £2,500 so far.

"Our sons Jack, 11, and Jamie, 23, will be strapping themselves into the Zip Wire in Wales in August also to raise money.

"It is the longest Zip Wire in Europe and the fastest in the world.

"Our nephew Alix, 18, is taking part in the Tough Mudder this month and we have other events in the process of being organised, one of which is a fire walk. So it's all go!"

Mr Stephenson holds the record for the most number of appearances for Keighley in the summer era.

The long-serving prop retired at the age of 34 at the end of the 2006 season, having been part of the successful 'Cougarmania' period during the 1990s.

Mrs Stephenson said his motor neurone disease diagnosis came after a year in which he had been struggling to use his arms, with the problem getting worse over the past few months.

People can visit facebook.com/Philsmndfightback to donate to Karen's fundraising drive, or provide details on their own charity activity to help the same campaign.