Widnes Vikings have paid tribute to their former Player Kato Ottio a year on from his passing.
Days before he was set to travel to the UK to join up with his new team mates Kato passed away last year. He suffered severe heat stroke following an eight-kilometre training run with his former PNG Hunters teammates in Port Moresby.
He was 23.
In the wake of his death fans of the Vikings supporters rallied around raising in excess of 11 thousand pounds for his family.
It had his been his dream to be able to pay to build his mother a new new home, and 12 months after his death that dream was realised in Tatana village, not far from Port Moresby, the capital of Papua New Guinea.
Joyce Ottio, Kato’s mother, says: “I just want to say a huge thank you to the Widnes Vikings club for their never ending support towards my family, it is truly wonderful and life-changing.
“Words cannot describe how humble I am with your club’s help. I want to say thank you to you all for the support towards the building of my late son’s, Kato Ben Ottio, dream house.
“I would like to say good luck and all the best for the upcoming season, and may God bless you all now and forever.”
Wellington Albert, Widnes Vikings first team star, says:
“Today is the 1st anniversary of the day that I lost you. For a time, I felt as though my life had ended too.
“I am full of sadness, Kato, that you are not here with me in Widnes. However, your influence still guides me through life now, and I still feel near to you every single day.
“What we shared as brothers will never die, it lives within my heart, and brings me strength and comfort whilst we are apart. My son, Jayston Kato, will also remind me of you in the many years to come.
“May your soul rest in eternal peace. Until we meet again, my brother…” James Rule, CEO at Widnes Vikings, says:
“The tragedy of Kato passing is something that nobody here at the club will ever forget. Whilst we didn’t have the pleasure in seeing him wear our colours and perform on the field, he will always be a part of the Widnes Vikings family.
“Kato had a dream that he wanted to build his mum a house when he had finished his career. It’s been inspiring for our club to play a small part in helping to realise that dream.
“It has also been a humbling experience to see how the people of Papua New Guinea have taken our club into their hearts, a relationship which the club will continue to develop and grow in the coming years.”