She might not look like she has much of a say about what happens on a rugby pitch – but eight-year-old Millie Robinson is always a guest of honour at Hunslet Warriors in Leeds.
Little Millie, who suffers from Rett Syndrome, has been the inspiration for a series of charity events held by big-hearted members of the club, who have raised £1,300 for her and her family.
Millie lives just two minutes from the club’s home ground and often spends her weekends watching her brother play in the Under-16s side and supporting dad Danny, who has coached teams at the club for more than five years.
Members of the club all decided to pitch in and help raise money, to give a little back to Millie and her family and thank them for their support over the years.
The highlight of their fundraising events was a Christmas charity match between parents and junior coaches.
Players took sponsor sheets to work and the referee donated his fee to Millie’s cause.
The match was followed by a grand raffle, with prizes donated by parents and local businesses and food contributions from Morrisons and Warburtons.
Club secretary Steve Bisby said: “For us all to give a little bit back to a local Hunslet girl was fantastic. A sense of warmth gripped all of us during the events.
“We did all sorts to raise money but the highlight was definitely the charity rugby game. Some were just past their sell-by date – a bit like me!”
The club have now decided to make the match an annual event and will continue raising money for deserving local causes.
Millie’s family are planning to spend the money on a hoist for easier mobility and movement for Millie, who requires specialist care and medication.
Rett Syndrome is a condition that mainly affects girls and sufferers are often unable to walk, talk or feed themselves.
Mr Bisby added: “There’s a lot of children out there that are a lot less fortunate than those that are playing and we’d like to continue to help as much as we can.”