Vikings proud of Ottio support

Vikings proud of Ottio support

20th March 2018

Today marks what would have been the 24th birthday of Kato Ottio. The club provides an update on the fundraising efforts and incredible backing from supporters, on such a poiginant day...

Widnes Vikings would like to thank everyone who has generously contributed to the fundraising efforts following the tragic passing of Kato Ottio. Your kind generosity has enabled the club to raise a significant amount, which will support the loved ones that Kato left behind.

In January 2018, Widnes Vikings were shocked by the passing of new signing, Kato Ottio, only days before he was set to fly to the United Kingdom to link up with his teammates. At the age of just 23, Kato’s passing was a tragedy that united the Rugby League community in grief.

In response, the Vikings delivered a number of fundraising initiatives for the Vikings. This included a Crowd Funder campaign that raised £10,520, a bucket collection at the pre-season friendly against Whitehaven that raised £4,300, and a special ‘Kato 18’ shirt transfer that has raised £1,600.

In addition, the Vikings were grateful to supporters who made their own fundraising efforts, including Anne-Marie Hughes from Skin Deep Aesthetics, who auctioned a signed and match-worn Joe Mellor shirt (a player she sponsors). This raised almost £450, being generously purchased by Barry Nanson.

The club has also secured a confidential insurance payment, which will further support Kato’s loved ones.

Widnes Vikings are grateful to have the support of PNG legend Stanley Gene, who is working as an intermediary between the club and Kato’s family in the distribution of these funds. Stanley is making an invaluable contribution in ensuring that the money donated makes a long-term impact and helps fulfil the aspirations that Kato held in life.

James Rule, CEO of Widnes Vikings, says: “On behalf of Widnes Vikings, I would like to thank everyone who has so generously backed this campaign. When faced with the tragedy of Kato’s passing, our immediate aim was to pay a proper tribute to a man who was proud to be a Viking and to make a difference to the close family that he left behind. However, we could not have expected the scale of the response to this effort.

At Widnes Vikings, we often talk about being ‘One Club’ and that was again demonstrated to be the case, as our Members and supporters united behind the cause. But moreover, we were powerfully reminded that Rugby League is a global yet close community, with people from across the world generously giving to the fund. We are incredibly grateful for this support and proud of the legacy that it will create.

I would like to thank Stanley Gene, who is helping to ensure that these funds achieve the dream that Kato lived for - changing the lives of his close family. Stanley’s knowledge of Papua New Guinea’s practices and customs, as well as his passion for keeping Kato’s memory alive, is invaluable.”

Widnes Vikings would also like to pay their sincere thanks to every supporter who took part in the recent drive to donate shirts to the Stanley Gene Foundation. Stanley is working to ensure that these kits make a difference to supporters of the game in remote areas of Papua New Guinea. We hope that the hundreds of items donated help inspire and support future generations to follow the footsteps of Kato, as well as Wellington and Stanton Albert, in achieving their Rugby League dreams.  

Vikings proud of Ottio support