Ten-year-old quad amputee stunned after bringing in over £23,000 for charity

A ten-year-old quad amputee who hoped to raise £500 for disabled kids by climbing a mountain has been left stunned - after bringing in over £23,000 in donations.

Selfless Luke Mortimer described reaching the towering figure - which is more than 46 times higher than he'd expected - as both "mad" and "absolutely amazing".

The youngster was just seven when he sadly lost his arms and legs after getting the bacterial infections meningococcal meningitis and septicaemia.

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Following his diagnosis, his family were supported by charities and donors who helped to adapt his home and even buy him a £15,000 bionic arm.

Luke Mortimer, a selfless ten-year-old quad amputee, at the bottom of Embsay Crag, in North Yorkshire.Luke Mortimer, a selfless ten-year-old quad amputee, at the bottom of Embsay Crag, in North Yorkshire.
Luke Mortimer, a selfless ten-year-old quad amputee, at the bottom of Embsay Crag, in North Yorkshire.

Luke later set his heart on "returning the favour" to organisations supporting disabled children - by doing a sponsored climb of Embsay Crag, in North Yorkshire.

But he's been left stunned with the money he's now raised from generous punters after reaching the top of the 656ft peak on November 4 - dubbed his 'Everest'.

Luke said: "There's no other word to describe it other than mad - it's just absolutely amazing. When it reached £10,000, I was checking it every day, and it was going up by £2,000 or £3,000 at a time. It's just really fulfilling. I'm really happy we've been able to raise so much."

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Luke's proud dad Adam Mortimer, 49, said he was equally "shocked" at the scale of the donations to the fundraiser, which currently stands at £23,082. Visit https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/adam-mortimer-4 to donate to Luke's appeal.

Luke Mortimer heading up Embsay Crag, North York, on November 4 2023Luke Mortimer heading up Embsay Crag, North York, on November 4 2023
Luke Mortimer heading up Embsay Crag, North York, on November 4 2023

Adam revealed he'd already sent off the first batch of funds to the charities they decided to support - LimbPower and the BBC's Children in Need.

He said: "It's definitely taken on a life of its own. I'm just amazed at how much support Luke has had and the way people have helped us. I'm really proud of him. We didn't set out to make this a huge thing, but we do fundraise a lot for Luke. It was nice to do it for someone else.

"It took us a bit by surprise - and it restored a lot of faith in people. It's not easy with the cost of living going up, so for people to donate so much is great. I transferred £13,000 to LimbPower this morning, and I'm hopefully going to transfer £13,000 to Children In Need tomorrow morning, but it's still going higher every day."

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Luke, previously a keen rugby player for Skipton RFC, was first struck down with meningococcal meningitis on December 13, 2019. He was transferred to Sheffield Children's Hospital, where doctors found life-threatening septicaemia, also known as blood poisoning, had developed in his body.

Writing at the time of the incident John Firth, a family friend who set up a donation page for him, said his rugby-mad family's life had been "turned upside down".

He said: "Luke was a budding seven-year-old rugby player, a bundle of joy who even at a young age had embraced life and every day was a happy day. His whole family was part of the rugby community, with his dad coaching many age-grade youngsters and his mum, running a children's rugby kit recycling stall, so that the young boys and girls, always had the right gear to play and train in.

"However, whilst the rest of us were buying and wrapping presents ready for Christmas, the family's life was turned upside down. Luke's young life was saved, however, the disease has taken its toll on his little body. He has proven he is a fighter, however, his life and the life of his mum, dad and his big brother will never be the same."

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Over the next few years, Luke endured endless sessions of physiotherapy and rehabilitation, while always wearing his trademark beaming smile. He later learned to walk - and run - on prosthetic legs. After receiving £15,000 worth of donations from an army of well-wishers, he also got his first robotic 'hero' arm so he could do more for himself.

The bungalow where Luke now lives with his brother Harry Mortimer, 14, and mum Christine Mortimer was previously changed for a man who was paralysed. Volunteer organisation Band of Builders later helped his dad Adam fit it with a remarkable range of new adaptions, which were unveiled on September 3 this year.

Luke set his sights on reaching the top of the summit when he first moved to the property in 2019. He went on to complete the climb in two hours on November 4, supported by dozens of well-wishers.

Speaking about his reason for raising money, Luke previously stated he wanted to help charities supporting kids with disabilities.

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He'd said: "I just thought it would be nice to return the favour to Children in Need, which helped me, and LimbPower. When we moved here, we were going down the road to Embsay, and I just saw the crag, and I said, 'Mum, dad, one day can we climb it?' "It's been a few years now, but I feel very determined about getting to the top and back down."