Clitheroe football fans rally round Blackburn Rovers legend whose three-year-old son has a rare Wilms' tumour

The Clitheroe community has rallied round a Blackburn Rovers legend whose three-year-old son has a rare form of stage four kidney cancer.

Tommy Spurr, of Old Langho, is on a mission to raise as much money as possible for any future treatment abroad for his son, Rio. The toddler is undergoing chemotherapy for a Wilms tumour on his kidney but experts say he has a 50% chance of the cancer returning and being incurable on the NHS.

The community has thrown its weight behind the family by donating £1,800 for Rio during a charity match pitting TV stars against ex-Blackburn Rovers players at Clitheroe Football Club. The total includes a £1,000 donation for a football shirt specially made for the game.

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The 35-year-old dad-of-two said: "It’s unbelievable. I was a bit lost for words and got a little bit emotional at times. For people to come and make a gesture like that means so much to us.

Rio, son of ex-Blackburn Rovers player, Tommy Spurr.

“It’s absolutely amazing. It was a great turnout and the players travelled a long way to play. It was great to be part of it.”

He added: “We’d just done a Ribchester fundraiser where 2,000 people came out, so to have that support again but this time in Clitheroe was amazing.

"We can’t express how grateful we are. It’s hard to put into words how we feel. We’re just blown away by how kind people can be. Thank you doesn’t seem to be enough at times but we don’t know what else to say.”

When Rio complained of a stomach ache in April, his parents noticed a lump on his tummy. His GP thought he had constipation or a reaction to a jab he’d recently had.

Rio Spurr has a rare form of cancer called a Wilms tumour.

But the toddler was violently sick a few days later and when his parents took him to A&E, medics thought he had a twisted bowel. He was transferred to Manchester Children’s Hospital for surgery but it was soon discovered that Rio had a tumour on one of his kidneys.

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The toddler then started chemotherapy, had surgery to remove the tumour and the affected kidney, and has undergone radiotherapy.

Medics have advised the family to start fundraising for alternative treatments in case his cancer returns and they have so far collected nearly £70,000.

To make a donation, please visit

Chorley fund-raiser and match organiser Tony Cartwright with Tommy Spurr, former Blackburn Rovers and Preston North End player.
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Tommy Spurr, playing to raise money for cancer treatment for his son, Rio.