Widnes Vikings set up crowdfunding page as part of tribute to Papua New Guinea centre Kato Ottio
Last Updated: 12/01/18 6:21pm
Widnes Vikings have launched a crowdfunding page in honour of Kato Ottio who suddenly passed away at the age of 23.
The Papua New Guinea international joined Widnes from Canberra Raiders in December and had been due to travel to the UK to join the squad for pre-season training.
Widnes said they have been inundated by thousands of heartfelt messages from people across the world, adding they want to do everything they can to celebrate Ottio's life.
A Widnes statement added: "As a club, Widnes Vikings have committed to making a private donation to Kato's family to support them at this difficult time.
"We recognise that many supporters and club partners will also want to support this cause, so we have established a crowd funding page. Every penny raised through this platform will be donated to his loved ones. Our sincere thanks are given to everyone who backs this cause.
"On Friday, Widnes Vikings are scheduled to face Whitehaven in a pre-season friendly. At this fixture, there will be bucket collections in both the South Stand and Pat Price Stand.
"To ensure that as much money as possible can be donated to this collection, there will be no rise in ticket prices ahead of the game, with tickets remaining at their current discounted advance-priced rates. We hope that this gesture supports attendees to be able to give generously to the collection.
"Kato's life will be celebrated at this game with a minute's silence, the first of a series of tributes that we are planning for our teammate.
"Widnes Vikings would like to thank everyone who supports these efforts, and to again offer our sincere condolences to his family, friends and former colleagues."