SUPPORTERS in all corners of Turf Moor welcomed back Burnley Football Club legend Gary Parkinson to his old stomping ground as he helped to conduct the half-time draw on Saturday.
Ex-Claret and Middlesbrough defender ‘Parky’, who was joined by close friend David Eyres, was greeted warmly by home and away fans.
The two goal-scoring heroes of Burnley’s 1994 play-off final victory came onto the pitch side by side, accompanied by members of Gary’s family.
Parky has been suffering from ‘locked-in syndrome’ after being hit by a massive stroke in 2010, and made his first public appearance when the Clarets visited the Riv-erside to play Middelsbrough over the Christmas period. However, Saturday was the first time Burnley fans could give a hero’s welcome at a home fixture after he was made guest of honour.
His son, Luke Parkinson, later thanked supporters, tweeting: “Superb reception for my dad at Turf Moor this afternoon, it means a lot - thank-you!”
And daughter Chloe Parkinson added: “Thankyou @BurnleyOfficial for giving my dad such an amazing reception.” An online message on behalf of the Gary Parkinson Trust read: “Thankyou to all the supporters at Turf Moor today for a great reception - it really means a lot. Thank-you.”
And ITV Sport presenter Mike Hall later said he had spent ‘a humbling day in the company of a remarkable family’, as supporters gave him ‘a fantastic ovation’.