Football coach inspired by nine-year-old fundraiser from Leigh

The Bolton News: Ellie Pugh with Centurion Ryan Brierley Ellie Pugh with Centurion Ryan Brierley

A JUNIOR football coach, inspired by a nine-year-old Crohn’s disease sufferer, has pledged to help reach her fundraising goal.

When Tom Simms, coach for the under eights Golborne Parkside Pirates, read about Ellie Pugh’s determined effort to help others despite suffering from the painful bowel condition in the Journal, he couldn’t help but feel inspired.

The 33-year-old, who lives in Golborne, was diagnosed with Crohn’s aged 16 and decided to help Ellie by inviting her to the Pirates’ presentation evening.

He said: “When I read about Ellie I was really impressed by her. I know what she is going through so I wanted to help her reach her target.

“Ellie didn’t know anyone but she went round collecting money with her bucket on her own.

“I have had an operation to treat the affected area so I only get the odd flare up and I can only imagine how much Ellie is suffering, especially at such a young age.

“We will carry on supporting Ellie as long as she needs us. We are thinking of doing Tough Mudder next year and if she ever needs to talk I will be here for her. Everyone who met her was so taken with her.”

In total £338.84 was raised at the evening, taking Ellie’s total which will be donated to Crohn’s and Colitis UK to £885.99 in just three weeks.

The Sacred Heart pupil, who lives in Leigh, was diagnosed last year but doctors have struggled to get her condition under control, meaning she will be on a feeding tube for Christmas and her birthday.

Ellie’s mum Donna said: “The whole night was amazing. We are absolutely overwhelmed with the support from the club and also from the general public who have made donations.”

Centurions’ half-back Ryan Brierley even popped in to offer Ellie and her family free tickets to a match next year.

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