AN appeal raising money for the family of an injured Redditch rugby player has smashed its target of £20,000.

Ashley Mooney, aged 30, was seriously injured during a rugby game earlier this month, where he broke his neck and damaged his spinal cord.

Mr Mooney, an on-call firefighter for Hereford and Worcestershire Fire and Rescue Service who also runs his own landscaping and roofing company, plays for Redditch Rugby Club and represents England in the fire service team.

Following the incident, he has lost the use of both hands and is paralysed from his chest down. Mr Mooney is currently at Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham on a ventilator.

His wife Victoria Mooney said: "He's a wonderful man. We really don't know what the future is going to hold."

A GoFundMe appeal was started by family friend Emily Shotbolt to help Mr Mooney's family financially. It's now raised well over £23,000 and has beaten its target.

A new target has been set at £30,000. People can donate to the fundraiser here.

Redditch Advertiser: Ashley MooneyAshley Mooney

Redditch Rugby Club generously donated £500 to the appeal. In a message on the page the club said: "Ash, everyone at Redditch RFC, past and present is fully behind you. We will be with you for the long haul and wish only the best for you on your journey."

Both Ashley and Victoria, of Batchley, are self-employed and currently have no income following the incident. Mr Mooney's business, ASM Developments, is being organised by his father Sean and brother Luke in his absence.

Reacting to the outpouring of community support, Victoria Mooney added: "I'm overwhelmed but not surprised because he's such a popular person. He would do anything for anyone.

"The messages we have received have been absolutely wonderful. I spoke to Ashley about it and he's really surprised about the response."

Mr Mooney celebrated his 30th birthday on Wednesday (October 13), with Mrs Mooney visiting him in hospital.