A FORMER rugby league player who was paralysed from the neck down has received further support after the Steve Prescott Foundation donated £50,000 to the RFL Benevolent Fund

The Steve Prescott Foundation announced the donation of a magnificent £50,000 to the Rugby Football League Benevolent Fund – the charity that provides assistance to players who have suffered life-changing injuries playing the sport and their families.

It also provides support and advice to players who receive diagnosis of severe illness.

The donation was made to Steve Ball, the General Manager of the RFL Benevolent Fund by SPF Trustee Linzi Prescott at the home of one of the beneficiaries Luke Bryan, from Haydock.

Luke was paralysed from the neck down following a devastating injury more than 20 years ago while playing for Haydock Under 18s.

After living in the extension of the family home with mum Christine during his adult life, a sum of £80,000 from the Steve Prescott Foundation, through the Rugby League Benevolent Fund, has helped Luke achieve his aim of regaining his independence.

He moved into a specially adapted bungalow in Haydock with his mum and sister in 2016.

St Helens Star:

Luke, in 2016, with ex-rugby league players Adrian Morley, Gary Connolly, Steve Hampson and Lee Briers

The home has enabled him to have his friends come round and gave him much more freedom to move around. His carers are able to have their own room and the house will also have an intercom system.

Following a review of Luke's needs, further modifications have now been made to the bungalow to ensure Luke's ongoing comfort and safety.

The RFL Benevolent Fund has received £661,880 in donations from the SPF since its inception in 2007. The SPF is immensely proud to continue to support the great work of the RFL Benevolent Fund and the care it gives.

Steve Ball, general manager of the RFL Benevolent Fund, said: “In a year when we have lost revenue from our main fundraising events, the SPF continued support has once again been invaluable.

"We have been able to support Luke’s home renovations, aid Mose Masoe’s incredible rehabilitation and continue to provide assistance to those who have suffered serious injuries by playing the game we love.

"These donations are made possible by the fantastic support of everyone who has raised funds and volunteered their services for the SPF during 2020. It has been such a difficult year for everyone, but the commitment and support has been phenomenal.”

St Helens Star: Linzi Prescott with Steve BallLinzi Prescott with Steve Ball

The donation is the culmination of fundraising and support from the SPF's supporters and sponsors during 2020.

These include from events such as Taylor Prescott’s seven Ultra Marathons in seven days and the GPW Recruitment St Helens 10k run. Despite other planned fundraising challenges being cancelled due to the pandemic, people rallied to support the SPF's virtual events, the Road to Wembley Challenge and the LEJOG 10k run.

Also, Jimmy Gittins' Herculean efforts walking round his garden, Paul Sculthorpe’s 40 hours on a Watt bike, Dave Howarth’s 50 10k runs in 50 days and the Leigh family 24-hour Watt bike challenge have all contributed along with the memorable occasion of Johnny Vegas getting his televised ‘socially distanced haircut’ by Paul Sculthorpe on Good Friday this year.

The SPF has been involved in several community projects during the pandemic including delivery of over more than 4,000 Eccleston Arms essential meals; assisting with PPE shortfall; SPF general manager Martin Blondel receiving the Daily Telegraph Britain's Coronavirus Community Hero Award and purchasing and donating two Paxman Scalp Cooling Machines at a cost of £28,500 to the Lilac Centre at St Helens Hospital.

During the second lockdown, volunteers delivered 2,511 Eccleston Arms “No One Goes Hungry Meals”.

The SPF will also make a donation to The Christie later his month.