A FUNDRAISING effort inspired by a Dorchester boy's brave battle with illness is ready to step up to the next level.

Fundraisers under the banner of Team George have been supporting the Meningitis Now charity in recent months, inspired by the courage shown by nine-year-old George Patterson, who suffered pneumococcal meningitis as a baby and has spent much of his young life in and out of hospital.

Team George has now been registered as a charity in its own right and George's family will be raising funds to buy equipment for other disabled youngsters in Dorset.

In recent years George's family and fellow local fundraisers have raised nearly £50,000 for Meningitis Now by running marathons, organising football matches, fun days and other events.

They will now turn their attention to supporting children closer to home, George's mum Naomi said: "I'm really excited about the next journey.

"We have gone out alone, which is quite scary but also quite exciting."

Naomi said she hoped the Team George charity, which will also be run by George's godmother Donna Singleton, would be fully up and running by the summer and it had already received its first donation, from Pipefix Ltd.

Among the first fundraisers will be the George Patterson Trophy on February 19, which will see Portland United's old boys take on their Dorchester United counterparts at Portland United from 1pm.

Naomi said her family knew only too well how vital it was for families with disabled children to receive funding for equipment, much of which was not available on the NHS and she was keen for the new charity to do its bit to help.

She said: "With George going to school at Wyvern we know how difficult it is for children with disabilities to get the equipment they need and we wanted to start helping local children."

Naomi said she hoped the Team George charity would create a legacy in her son's name.

She said: "We hope to continue it for many years and the thing I'm really looking forward to is seeing George hand over the first bit of equipment to that's going to help another family."

Naomi said she was keen to hear from anyone who wanted to raise funds or support the charity, whether it's through a coffee morning, running event, football match or over event.

To get in touch or find out more about the charity visit the 'Team George for Meningitis Now' Facebook page.