Fans raise almost £15,000 for family of tragic star Kato Ottio

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WIDNES and rugby league fans have given the family of tragic ace Kato Ottio almost 15,000 crumbs of comfort with an amazing fundraising drive.

And the late Papua New Guinea star is set to be honoured in a wall of fame at the Vikings' stadium, even though he never played for them.

 Rugby league star Kato Ottio passed away aged 23PA:Press Association Rugby league star Kato Ottio passed away aged 23

Ottio, 23, is set to be buried on Tuesday after his casket makes one final journey home to Tatana Island off the PNG mainland after he died from heatstroke.

It has been revealed that he collapsed while on a second five mile run in temperatures reaching 33 degrees in a bid to show youngsters in his homeland what it takes to be a professional.

Now supporters have showed their class by donating more than £14,000 to an appeal to raise money for the centre’s devastated family – even though the original target was £10,000.

Widnes marked Ottio’s death, which happened in the week he was to travel to the UK after signing from NRL side Canberra, at Friday’s pre-season game with Whitehaven.

 Kato Ottio in action for Papua New Guinea in the Rugby League World CupPA:Press Association Kato Ottio in action for Papua New Guinea in the Rugby League World Cup

The number 18 shirt he would have worn and a Papuan flag were paraded as a minute’s silence was held.

And a bucket collection, with every penny going to Ottio’s family, raised £4,296.71 to add to the just over £10,000 raised online.

Plans are being drawn up over ways to mark Ottio’s death, with one being his name being inscribed into a brick to feature on a wall of fame.

Chief executive James Rule sent a message to a memorial service at the Sir John Guise indoor stadium in Port Moresby.

 Kato Ottio, pictured making a tackle, was due to travel to the UK to play for WidnesPA:Press Association Kato Ottio, pictured making a tackle, was due to travel to the UK to play for Widnes

He said: “He was someone who we believed could make a real difference to our team and become a star in the Super League. It was truly an exciting moment when we were able to secure his services

“While Kato was yet to put on our famous shirt, he was, and will forever be, a Viking.”

Widnes have since signed PNG prop Stanton Albert, brother of fellow new boy Wellington, who was going to share a house with Ottio and is
now receiving counselling before heading to the UK.

  • Topics
  • Super League

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