Charity fundraising efforts inspired by Tony Hopper's fight against motor neurone disease are already approaching the £5,000 mark.

The former Carlisle United and Workington footballer's story has touched the hearts of many in Cumbria and beyond.

And attempts to help the Motor Neurone Disease Association in Tony's name continue to gather pace.

The Hopper family have set an initial £10,000 target for Tony's Fightback Fund in support of the MND Association's work in north and west Cumbria.

The running total so far is £4,848.82.

Some £2,860.67 was raised at the recent United v Portsmouth game, where Tony was guest of honour and made an emotional half-time appearance on the pitch.

That came from bucket collections, with United also donating a cut of the proceeds from matchday programme sales.

Further cash has been raised through JustGiving accounts, including the Hoppers' own page and those of friends taking part in charity challenges.

News & Star readers have also donated £335 in response to our Fighting Back For Tony campaign.

A number of further events are in the pipeline that will see more people rally around the 40-year-old and his family.

We have already featured two friends of the Hoppers who are taking on challenges for the MND Association.

Kate Stark is running the Manchester Marathon next month while Emily McCausland is tackling 11 different challenges, including half-marathons, mud runs and swims, throughout the year.

Anyone planning their own fundraising initiative can register with the charity at

In order to help the Hoppers, and ensure donations go to the north and west Cumbria group, mention Tony Hopper's Fightback Fund when registering.

You can also donate at .

Anyone affected by motor neurone disease can contact the MND Association for support.

Sue Muller is regional care development adviser for Lancashire and Cumbria. She can be reached on 0345 3751841 or 07876575029, email