Clubs rally to help stricken Connor

Jake Gillie and Nicola Driver from Earlston RFC present their cheque'to Connor's sister, gran and mother.
Jake Gillie and Nicola Driver from Earlston RFC present their cheque'to Connor's sister, gran and mother.

Local rugby clubs have been coming out in support of an Earlston teenager who sustained a life-changing injury to his spine in September while playing for Stirling University.

A coffee morning hosted and organised at The Haugh by Grace Blaikie, grandmother of injured player Connor Hughes, 19, raised £300, with a further £500 donated by Earlston Rugby Club through their own fundraising activities.

Since Connor’s accident, family and friends, and the rugby community have been actively fundraising to help him lead his life to the full.

Earlston Rugby Club president George Cessford said: “I’m delighted that the club could offer assistance and was pleased that the event had been a great success.

“I’d especially like to thank our members Nicola Driver and Jake Gillie for their efforts in assisting the family.

“Future fundraising events in conjunction with the family are planned, with our thanks in advance to everyone for their continued support for this cause.

“On behalf of Earlston Rugby Club, I’d like to wish Connor all very best with his recovery.”

Elsewhere, Selkirk Rugby Club and its supporters have made a donation of £1,334 to the fund.

Connor’s girlfriend, Amy Kemp, who hails from the Royal Burgh, received the cheque at Philiphaugh from club president Mick Craig.

“It’s extremely kind of Selkirk Rugby Club to donate this money to the fund,” said Amy, “and Connor has been overwhelmed by the huge amount of support he’s received since the accident.”

With many other clubs in the region donating, Connor’s Fund total now stands at over £63,000.

“It’s amazing,” added Amy, Connor, his family and friends are so grateful for everyone’s good wishes and generosity.”

Connor and his sister Rachel are heading out to California on January 15, where they will spend seven to eight weeks at the world-renowned Project Walk paralysis recovery centre in San Diego. Training is also being provided for Rachel, so she will be able to carry on Connor’s rehab programme when they return to the Borders. Visit: for more information and to donate.