Happy 50th birthday to former Blackpool FC player Gary Parkinson
Fans and former colleagues have joined forces to wish former Blackpool FC player Gary Parkinson a happy 50th birthday.
The right back, who went on to become Pool’s head of youth after retiring, suffered a severe stroke in 2010 that left him with locked in syndrome.
Gary, who turns 50 today, was left completely paralysed – apart from eye movements – but his family appealed for video messages they could play to him today.
His son Luke, 24, said he had to think outside the box when it came to getting a present to mark the milestone birthday.
“With my dad being in the condition he’s in, it’s hard to get the normal gifts you would get someone,” he said.
“This is a good way to get his spirits up as well. We’ve had a good few – enough to make a little video.”
Former Blackpool forward Brett Ormerod, who scored more than 50 goals in 215 appearances across two spells at the club, is among those to have sent a video.
Tony Mowbray and Bruce Rioch, who both worked with Gary at Middlesbrough, also responded to a social media appeal to send in their birthday messages.
Luke said the family also intend to read out a selection of written messages fans have sent in on Twitter.
“We’ve had a really good response,” he added.
“I’m sure it will give him a good boost.”
Locked-in Syndrome is a condition that means a person is aware but cannot speak due to almost total paralysis.
Gary is able to use his eyes to operate a machine that allows him to select letters of the alphabet by blinking.
Gary Parkinson played 24 times for Blackpool between 2001 and 2001.