FANS and ex-colleagues of Lancashire Legend defender, Gary Parkinson, turned out in force for a fundraising dinner in his honour.
The 42-year-old had a stroke last September and has been suffering from “locked in syndrome”, which means he is unable to move but still aware of everything around him.
On Sunday, a dinner hosted by the Burnley Past Players Association, at Turf Moor, raised £16,000 for the Gary Parkinson fighting fund and rounded off a weekend of events to show fans’ appreciation of “Parky”.
Supporters at the Burnley v Crystal Palace game on Saturday flocked to sign a tribute book in support of the 42-year-old.
His wife, Deborah, said it was an “emotional” weekend for the family as she stepped onto the pitch to conduct the half-time draw, in aid of Gary’s trust fund.
She added: “We told him about everything that would be going on. It is just fantastic what Burnley fans have done for Gary this weekend.” Veronica Simpson, secretary of the Burnley Past Players Association, had met with her opposite numbers at some of Gary’s other former clubs, including Preston North End and Middlesbrough, and the dinner came out of those discussions.
Burnely and Preston's Managers, Eddie Howe and Phil Brown, who is a former Wanderers team mate of Gary, along with Blackpool stars Charlie Adam and DJ Campbell also attended. Along with many team mates of Gary's
Last month Gary, who was head of youth at Blackpool FC when he was struck down by the stroke, had a speech valve fitted to aid his communication.
Mrs Parkinson said: “Things are slow but he is making good progress. He is undergoing some pretty intense therapy.
“Hopefully he will start getting more movement back. He is fully aware of his surroundings and always smiles when something pleases him.”