International referee Nigel Owens offers to oversee charity rugby match in aid of Skipton meningitis victim

Nigel Owens, left, is the world's leading rugby union referee
Nigel Owens, left, is the world's leading rugby union referee
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The world's most famous rugby referee has said it would be an 'honour' to officiate at a charity match in aid of a seven-year-old boy who lost his hands and legs to meningitis.

Luke Mortimer, from Skipton, developed sepsis when he fell ill with bacterial meningitis in December, and had to undergo the amputations when his limbs became gangrenous.

Seven-year-old Luke Mortimer is in Sheffield Children's Hospital recovering from bacterial meningitis

Seven-year-old Luke Mortimer is in Sheffield Children's Hospital recovering from bacterial meningitis

The rugby-mad youngster and his brother Harry, 10, both play for Skipton RUFC and their father Adam is a coach at the club.

Skipton pulls together to support rugby-mad boy who lost his hands and legs to meningitis
Family friends launched an appeal to raise money to enable the Mortimers to fund modifications to their home and specialist medical equipment, and it had so far raised over £47,000.

They are also holding a benefit match in aid of Luke at the club, and local business Yorkshire Dales Bushcraft tweeted international referee Nigel Owens to ask how much it would cost for him to attend the game.

The Welshman, who oversaw the Rugby World Cup final in 2015 and was prevented from refereeing the 2019 final by injury, responded to say he would love to come along.

"It would cost you nothing at all for me to referee the game for the young lad. It would be an honour to so. Will send you my contact details to see if I can make it work."

Owens was most recently seen by rugby fans refereeing the World Cup semi-final between England and New Zealand in November, but sustained a calf injury which ruled him out of the final between England and South Africa.

Brian Brocksom, a retired police officer who is organising a series of fundraising events for Luke, said:-

"The rugby community is very generous in times like this. I've never fundraised before, but as a police officer I have dealt with families who have been through trauma and I see myself as having a job to do. Their life has been turned upside down. Hopefully the money will mean Luke can go home to a safe and enjoyable environment.

"Luke and Harry have grown up at the club, as Adam and Christine have been involved for years before they were born. They've been coming here since they were babies and the family are part of the make-up of the club.

"At the moment there is no indication of when Luke can come home - the major surgery is over but he may have to have skin grafts. We're not sure whether he will be transferred to a hospital closer to home first."