A WORLD Cup winner has thrown his support behind a fundraising effort in aid of a Blackburn teenager, who was paralysed in a freak rugby accident.
Ribble Valley-born Will Greenwood has been named as the honorary president of The George Claxton Trust.
George, 15, was due to sit his GCSE exams when he landed awkwardly trying to execute a tackle during a game for Blackburn RUFC.
After the life-changing accident George’s family and friends joined to set up a trust in his name, to make sure that all his future financial needs are met.
Former England rugby captain Will said: “I was brought up on the touchlines of a variety of rugby clubs, including the mighty Blackburn.
“They gave me some of my fondest memories of rugby. So it is with great sadness, but also great resolve, optimism and rugby spirit, that we must now join together and support a Blackburn lad who needs our help.
“The tragic accident that left George in a wheelchair is now long since done.
“However, his fight for life is on-going and will continue every second of every day.
“But already he has shown us he is up for the fight, that he is ready to dig in and keep loving the sport he once graced. It is now our time to stand and fight with him.”
George, a former St Wilfrid’s CE Academy pupil, of Sandringham Close, said: “For much of my life, Will has been an idol of mine, and to even know he is aware of me is unbelievable.
“The fact that people are taking time out to volunteer and donate to the trust is so special in itself, and I’ll never be able to express how thankful I am.”
Will added: “If George was next to you on a rugby field he would have your inside shoulder, he would be over you in the ruck, he would look after you.
“Away from the rugby field, we must now be there for him.
“I ask you to give with all your generosity, to give whatever you can, to help a young man in need. George is one of us and will always be. We must never forget that.”
A glitter and gold rugby ball is being held at Ewood Park on November 10 to raise money for the George Claxton Trust.
For more information visit georgeclaxtontrust. com