Carlisle United fans are being invited to join a huge charity walk from Gretna to Wembley which aims to highlight the dangers of gambling.

A group of 30 people will be walking nearly 300 miles in 10 days, arriving at the national stadium on June 13 - the day of England's opening Euro 2020 game.

It is called The Big Step, part of the charity Gambling with Lives, a charity set up by bereaved family members and friends who have lost loved ones to gambling-related suicide.

Those involved are calling on broadcasters to suspend all gambling advertising during their coverage of Euro 2020.

They are inviting people from all over the country to join them in stages of the walk, which starts at Gretna's Raydale Park on June 4 and continues from Carlisle's Brunton Park the following morning.

It comes as the game comes under continued scrutiny over its relationship with gambling.

Carlisle supporter Simon Clarkson, chairman of United's supporters groups (CUSG), will be joining the walk during its Cumbrian stages, and is inviting fellow Blues to join in.

He said: “Gambling can become addictive and we all know how serious the consequences can be of any addiction.

"There needs to be more being done to encourage a public health approach to gambling harms.

"If anyone wants to join in on the walk, please contact us at”.

After starting at Gretna FC 2008 on June 4, the walkers will pass through Cumbria via Carlisle United on June 5 and Kendal Town on June 6, before further stop-offs on consecutive days at Lancaster City, Preston North End, Stockport County, Derby County, Coventry City, Milton Keynes Dons and Luton Town before arriving in Brent - where Wembley is situated - on June 13.

It will be the fifth and biggest Big Step walk undertaken since the campaign started in 2019 in an attempt to reduced gambling-related harm by "tackling the escalation of gambling advertising in football".

The campaigners, along with politicians and clinicians, have written to major broadcasters including ITV, Channel 4, Channel 5, Sky Sports, BT Sport, and TalkSPORT asking them to suspend gambling adverts during the Euros.

They also have an open letter for supporters to add their voice to the growing call for a suspension of gambling adverts during the tournament.

The campaign group cited figures showing that, at the start of last season, 85 per cent of Premier League and 75 per cent of Championship clubs listed a gambling sponsor or partner.

"As a result, a gambling brand is now visible up to 89 per cent of the time on Match of the Day, which is watched by up to seven million people each week," they added.

"During international tournaments, all games are broadcast live on terrestrial TV, with ITV screening 172 gambling adverts during their coverage of the 2018 World Cup – equivalent to 17 per cent of total advertisements broadcast throughout the tournament."

James Grimes, a former gambling addict who is a founder of the Big Step, said: “Football has been a beacon of hope throughout the pandemic and the Euros should be a reason to celebrate as the recovery from it continues, and not be a platform to promote addictive and harmful gambling products.

“Promoting gambling, including products with addiction rates of up to 50 per cent, is a huge contradiction to the good work that football does, which is why we believe gambling adverts and sponsorship should have no place in football.”

Stacey Goodwin, who is recovering from gambling addiction and will be taking part in the walk, added: “I am walking with the Big Step because for eight years of my life I believed I was the only young woman in the world to suffer with a gambling addiction to the extent that I did, to a point where I almost lost my life.

"I am walking to let other young women know that they are not on their own. This addiction does not discriminate: no matter your age, gender, or ethnicity, this addiction can take hold.”