Happy 50th birthday to former Blackpool FC player Gary Parkinson

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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 Parkinson

Gary Parkinson

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 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.