Community Rugby Coach Spider Kelly shaves his head to support Connor

Connor (far right) playing for Devonport Services RFC U11s at Twickenham in 2014
Spider' Kelly (centre) with Connor's fellow U13 team mates after the fundraising head shave

RNRU Community Rugby Coach (West) Spider Kelly has taken part in a charity fundraising event to support one of the Devonport Services RFC young players, Connor Tompkins. In addition to his role as CRC with the RNRU, Spider also volunteers his time to train and develop the youth talent at Devonport Services Rugby Football Club so when he found out about Connor's illness he was determined to join in and show his support for Connor and his family.

Connor is one of the DSRFC U13 players but he has recently become too poorly to continue playing the great game he loves. After having numerous medical checks, Connor was diagnosed with a rare form of a malignant brain tumour called Germinoma. Understandably this news has shaken his world, his family, all of Connor's fellow players and all the members at Devonport Services. Devonport Services Rugby Football Club is one of the two clubs to be affiliated to the Royal Navy Rugby Union.

Connor is presently in Bristol Hospital being treated and supported by his family. He has had one operation and his radiotherapy treatment has now started. Germinomas, like several other types of germ cell tumour, are sensitive to both chemotherapy and radiotherapy. Connor's treatment is likely to go on for a while and ‘The Devonport Services family’ want to help support Connor and his family throughout his treatment and recovery. In July the club held a sponsored ‘Head Shave’ which raised in excess of £500. Among the club members having their heads shaved were Connor’s rugby team mates and his coach Spider Kelly.

Fund raising to support Connor is ongoing throughout the club and a 'just giving fund raising' web page has also been set up. Messages of support can be posted on the ‘just giving’ web page. The Royal Navy Rugby Union sends their best wishes to Connor and his family, our thoughts are with them during his treatment and we look forward to seeing him back at Devonport Services RFC as soon as possible.

Images by Alligin Photography / © Sarah Harrison and John Walton