VIDEO: Thousands support toddler’s dream of being able to walk

Thousands headed to Crawley Rugby Club at the weekend to help make a toddler’s dream of being able to walk come true.

The rugby club put on a rugby festival to raise cash for Sonny Hamilton, who turned three on Monday.

Southern Hemisphere rugby players with Sonny. Picture: Steve Robards

Southern Hemisphere rugby players with Sonny. Picture: Steve Robards

Sonny was born prematurely with cerebral palsy, which affects his ability to sit and walk.

He needs a selective dorsal rhizotomy (SDR) operation and his family are trying to raise £80,000 to get him this by next year.

Before the festival they had raised £30,000.

His mum, Katie Finkle, 26, of Holman Close, Crawley, said: “It was an absolutely fantastic weekend – we won’t know how much we raised until later this week.

A minute silence took place at the festival as a mark of respect for the Manchester bomb victims. Picture: Steve Robards

A minute silence took place at the festival as a mark of respect for the Manchester bomb victims. Picture: Steve Robards

“Thousands came and there was so much support from everyone.

“Sonny led out both teams and this was a really touching moment and it was great for everyone to see him with his walker – which showed his struggle.

“It was such a good atmosphere with lots of families and things to do for children – I am hoping we have raised money in the thousands mark.”

This was the second type of event held at the rugby club in Ifield Avenue, having raised £30,000 last year for the Olivers Wish Foundation, which was founded by prominent member of the club and former 1st team captain, Rob Dowling, 42.

Sonny with rugby captains at the festival. Picture: Steve Robards

Sonny with rugby captains at the festival. Picture: Steve Robards

His son, Oliver tragically died in his sleep just before his second birthday in October 2015.

Rob said: “Last year’s event was tremendously successful and we were keen to do it again and thought it would be amazing to help Sonny this year. I couldn’t think of anything better.

The festival included a Legends match with two full teams of ex-internationals.

To donate to Sonny visit www.justgiving.com/campaigns/charity/just4children/sonnysdreamtowalk.

Crawley RFC under 13's. Picture: Steve Robards

Crawley RFC under 13's. Picture: Steve Robards

Don’t miss out on all the latest breaking news where you live.

Here are four ways you can be sure you’ll be amongst the first to know what’s going on.

1) Make our website your homepage

2) Like our Facebook page

3) Follow us on Twitter

4) Register with us by clicking on ‘sign in’ (top right corner). You can then receive our daily newsletter AND add your point of view to stories that you read here.

And do share with your family and friends - so they don’t miss out!

Always the first with your local news.

Be part of it.