BRITAIN'S top celebrity couple are buying specialist equipment to help York children with mobility difficulties to learn to walk.

David and Victoria Beckham gave their finiancial support after being invited to a celebrity ball in the city in aid of the Georgina Grace Trust - a charity which supports disabled children and their families.

Ruth Thompson, who launched the trust with her husband, Paul, said she was "amazed" at the offer.

"Victoria's mother, Jackie Adams, phoned me," said Ruth, of Nether Poppleton. "I was completely shocked. She said David and Victoria would not be able to make the ball, but would still like to help."

Mrs Adams, who runs the David and Victoria Beckham Children's Charity, said: "Having three boys, children are close to their hearts. We mainly buy walking aids, wheelchairs, trikes and things like that for disabled children."

The Beckhams have shared the anguish of parents worried about their child's health, as their young son Romeo has had to be rushed to hospital on a number of occasions, suffering from convulsions.

Ruth, of York-based Horseshoe Weddings And Events, said the walking frames cost about £1,000 each. They work to stabilise the hip joint and help children who have difficulty standing, due to delayed development.

Ruth's daughter, Georgina, has one to get her used to putting weight on her left leg to help with her balance. She was born in July, 2004 with CMV, a virus which has left her unable to use her left side.

"Georgina's physiotherapist at the child development centre mentioned they need two standing frames, but there isn't money to buy them," said Ruth, 40. "I mentioned this to Jackie Adams, and David and Victoria are paying for them out of their own money. I am amazed."

Ruth and Paul hope to raise £30,000 at a celebrity lunch with Christine and Neil Hamilton on March 2 and a celebrity ball on April 29.

A third of that will go to the Child Development Centre.

For details phone Ruth on 01904 784783.

Tyson gives £10,000 to family of tragic rugby star

CONTROVERSIAL former boxing champion Mike Tyson is donating £10,000 to the widow of York rugby hero St John Ellis, the Evening Press can reveal today.

"Iron" Mike will make the generous gesture when he returns to the region on March 20 for a speaking engagement at the Pavilion suite at Leeds United's Elland Road ground.

Tyson superfan Andy Booker, who helped organise his visit to Doncaster last November, told the ex-boxer about the death of Doncaster Lakers coach St John during a recent trip to Las Vegas. Andy, who used to play rugby for Doncaster, was a great admirer of the former York winger.

"Mike was overwhelmed when I told him about St John," he said.

"He has agreed to donate £10,000 to St John's widow, Mel, which is fantastic. He is very generous."

St John's funeral was held at York Minster and attended by more than 1,000 mourners, including Great Britain rugby legends Garry Schofield and Daryl Powell.

The 41-year-old who grew up in Fulford, York, collapsed and died on New Year's Eve after leading a training session with the Doncaster Lakers rugby league club, where he was coach.

Mel, from Castleford, who has two daughters, Maia, seven and Indyia, eight, said she was shocked and thankful for the gesture.

"At the moment I'm just trying to get through each day," she said.

"I'm just overwhelmed by the level of support. I can't put into words what it means. The impact St John has had on other peoples' lives is amazing."

Mel, who will be presented with the donation at the Tyson show, said St John was a huge fan of the boxer and often stayed up to watch his fights.

"He loved Mike Tyson," she said.

"His gesture has taken my breath away. I know St John will be looking down on us."

Tyson was forced to call off a planned sightseeing visit to York in November - after being knocked out by flu.

Updated: 10:50 Tuesday, February 14, 2006