York & North Yorkshire

Skipton rugby player loses limbs to meningitis

Luke Mortimer Image copyright Family handout
Image caption Luke Mortimer had the amputation surgery at Sheffield Children's Hospital

A fundraising drive is under way for a seven-year-old rugby player who lost both hands and legs after contracting meningococcal meningitis.

Luke Mortimer, from Skipton, was struck down with the illness on 13 December.

The boy's club, Skipton RFC, has been raising money and more than £25,000 has been donated on a Justgiving page.

Club coach Brian Brocksom said the "whole rugby family" was behind Luke and his parents and that the public response had been "overwhelming".

The youngster, who plays in the North Yorkshire club's junior team, has undergone surgery at Sheffield Children's Hospital to remove both hands and legs below the knee.

'Absolutely tragic'

Mr Brocksom described Luke as a "cheeky, smiley, little boy" and said both he and his parents, Adam and Christine, along with older brother Harry, were a big part of the rugby community.

"It's absolutely tragic what has happened.

"Both boys have been running round here since they were babies and the family are an integral part of the club.

"Adam is a coach and Christine runs a children's rugby kit recycling stall so we want to do all we can to support them."

Mr Brocksom, who is a Yorkshire RFU referee, said he would be donating his refereeing match fees for the remainder of the season to the family.

The club has also raised more than £1,000 from collection buckets with fundraising continuing at weekend games.

Mr Brocksom said there had been a big response to offers for help, including from businesses pledging financial support and tradesmen offering work for free.

"The family are coping the best they can but the challenges they face are huge.

"A lot of money has been raised but in relation to what the family will need in the long term, with adaptations in the home etc, it's just the tip of the iceberg."

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