Family of Evan Hawksworth, 14, who died in rugby tragedy are fundraising for Leeds Mission Christmas appeal

The family of a 14-year-old boy who died after suffering a catastrophic brain injury during a junior rugby league match are raising cash for this year's Mission Christmas appeal.

By Mark Lavery
Monday, 30th November 2020, 11:53 am
Updated Monday, 30th November 2020, 11:55 am
Rodillian Academy student Evan Hawksworth collapsed after a tackle while playing for Stanley Rangers ARLFCagainst Batley Boys on July 9 2017.
Rodillian Academy student Evan Hawksworth collapsed after a tackle while playing for Stanley Rangers ARLFCagainst Batley Boys on July 9 2017.

Mission Christmas appeal aims to make sure all disadvantaged children across West Yorkshire have a present to open this Christmas.

Rodillian Academy student Evan Hawksworth collapsed after a tackle while playing for Stanley Rangers ARLFC against Batley Boys on July 9 2017.

He died at Leeds General Infirmary two days later from a severe traumatic brain injury.

The family of Evan Hawksworth who died in a rugby match when he was 14, are fundraising for the Mission Christmas Appeal. Pictured at their home at Robin Hood, Wakefield, are Evan's mum Michelle Hawksworth with husband Gary and and daughter Eleni. Picture by Simon Hulme

Evan's family of Robin Hood, Wakefield, set up a fundraising group called #TeamEvan in his memory, which has raised more than £55,000 since it was launched in September 2017.

They will be selling Christmas themed #TeamEvan sweatshirts and running T shirts to raise cash for Mission Christmas and Wakefield Street Kitchen, which supports homeless people.

Evan's mum Michelle Hawksworth, said: "We wanted to turn our tragedy into helping others because Evan was a very inspirational person.

"So we set up Team Evan, a group that fundraises for all sorts of things that were important to Evan."

#TeamEvan has raised cash for a number of charities, including the Leeds Children's Heart Surgery Fund.

Fundraisers include a Leeds to Wembley Walk in August 2018 when Evan's dad Gary and Michelle's brother Wayne Hoult raised £16,000 for the Rugby League Benevolent Fund.

Evan's family including sister Eleni, 15, and dad Gary are all part of #TeamEvan, which holds an annual charity golf day at Normanton Golf Club.

Michelle said: "Evan loved both rugby league and union. He was captain at Sandal Rugby Club's Under 14s.

"He was just a really helpful person. He had a very positive outlook on life. He used to say if you want something out of life it's up to you to make it happen."

Michelle and family are designing a range of #TeamEvan Christmas sweatshirts, hoodies and T shirts and are selling them to raise money for Mission Christmas and Wakefield Street Kitchen.

Anyone interested in buying one is asked to email [email protected]

Lisa Sullivan, charity manager at Pulse1 radio, said: "I am so touched by the generosity of Team Evan and to choose us as one of their charities to support is just amazing.

"This is such a wonderful thing to do in Evan’s memory and I would like to thank everyone involved."

Mission Christmas, which is the largest Christmas toy appeal in the UK, is an annual campaign run by Cash For Kids, which is supported by Bauer Radio’s regional stations, including Pulse 1.

Collectively, Cash for Kids raised more than £20.9m in 2019 in gifts and donations which were distributed to more than a million disadvantaged children across the UK, including 26,143 in West Yorkshire.

People are being asked to buy one extra gift before December 18 and hand it in to a number of drop off points, including the charity's partner B&M's stores.

Drop off points are listed at www.pulse1.co.uk/missionOr text ‘PULSE’ to 70910 to donate £10 and a gift will be bought on your behalf.

This year Pulse 1’s Mission HQ, which acts as a hub for the receipt, sorting and distribution of gifts, is at The Store Room, Millshaw, Leeds LS11 8EG.