Published: 15:14, 10 October 2019
| Updated: 17:00, 10 October 2019
A charity football match has helped raise thousands of pounds to transform the home of a young boy who ended up having both legs amputated after being neglected by his birth parents.
Tony Hudgell, who this week celebrated his fifth birthday, suffered several fractures shortly after his birth that led to septicaemia and left him fighting for his life when just 41 days old.
A judge described him as being "seconds away from death" when he was taken to a doctor’s surgery and the full extent of his injuries, which he suffered at the hands of Jody Simpson and Antony Smith in Maidstone, was revealed.
However, many alterations need to be made to the house so Tony can enjoy the most comfortable life possible and Mrs Hudgell set up a crowdfunding page for people to donate to the cause.
Charity organiser Neil Humphries, from The Big Match, then got in touch with Mrs Hudgell having heard her son's story and the 'Game for Tony' was quickly set up to raise funds for the Discovery School pupil.
Tony and his mum travelled to Tadley in Hampshire to watch the match, with the youngster even taking over refereeing duties for a penalty shootout at the end.
Watch Tony Hudgell take on refereeing duties
An incredible £2,500 was raised in a week, which means Mrs Hudgell's initial fundraising target of £5,000 for various equipment has now been surpassed.
She said: "They are such a great bunch and having never met Neil before, it was amazing that he just picked Tony's story up.
"We are currently having a double storey extension built for him, with a wet room and therapy room downstairs, then we'll have a lift and his own bedroom upstairs.
"Once that's completed in December, we're going to astro turf the back garden to make it safe for Tony and so he's able to play football.
"Neil thinks it's rather fitting, seeing as they are football-based, to go for the artificial grass so he can play safely without his legs and clothes being cut and muddy."
Anyone wishing to donate to the cause can do so here.
More by this authorTom Pyman