A former Whitehaven rugby league player has designed a pioneering bicycle seat for overweight people.

Steve Phythian, 62, played under Frank Foster and Tommy Dawes during the 1980s and was once awarded the club’s player of the year.

Steve believes his invention could transform the lives of millions of obese people by introducing them to cycling.

But despite lots of encouragement from councils and government departments he is still having to wait to get his product onto the market.

“There has been lots of interest over the last few years but I am stuck at the moment because someone has been accused of forging my name to gain access to European funding,” he said.

He came up with the idea for the new seat after doing a sponsored bike ride to Blackpool for an amateur rugby club in Swinton. Steve, who was at least a couple of stone overweight, said he struggled while on a hire bike.

“It was so painful, and that was when I got the idea to design my own adjustable bicycle bench,” he said.

An experienced motor mechanic, he designed up to 30 prototypes for the seat in his workshop before the finished design. The development of the seat, which was given a patent in 2013, included the use of high-density foam to create an ultra soft seat and came as NHS bosses were warning of the billions of pounds being wasted on dealing with obesity.

“I am desperately looking for someone to bring this revolutionary seat to the market because it will literally help millions of people out there who are put off cycling because of conventional saddles,” he says.

Steve spent four years at the Recreation Ground, playing 85 games for Haven and he scored three tries.

“I still keep in touch with one or two people up there because I enjoyed my time at the club,” he said.

“Swinton play there in the first game of the season so I’m going to try and get up there and see people like Ron Batty.”

One tale from his time with Whitehaven concerns Aussie great Wally Lewis.

“He was playing for Wakefield and word was going around that he was earning £1,000 a match. Our coach Frank Foster said to me ‘make sure he earns it’ and I ended up knocking out some of his teeth,” he recalls.

Previously with Swinton, Steve moved to Whitehaven in 1981 and after his time in West Cumbria emigrated to Australia where he played for a club in Perth. His wife was unable to settle in the country, so they returned to the Manchester area.