Happy 50th birthday to former Clarets defender Gary Parkinson

Gary Parkinson celebrates his winner at Wembley
Gary Parkinson celebrates his winner at Wembley
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Fans and former colleagues have joined forces to wish former Burnley player Gary Parkinson a happy 50th birthday.

The right back, who went on to become Blackpool’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.”

Gary Parkinson

Gary Parkinson

Former Burnley midfielder Paul Weller and Burnley cricketer James Anderson are among the many well wishers who 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.

Appearances

Gary Parkinson played 164 times for Burnley between 1994 and 1997. He scored the winner over Stockport County at Wembley in the 1994 play off final.