Celebrities, sports stars, former Boro players and the club’s shirt sponsor Ramsdens are coming together to support former Boro player Gary Parkinson at a Riverside benefit match.
The event, which kicks off at 4pm on Sunday May 15, will raise funds for Gary who had a stroke last year and has been left with a condition called “Locked-in Syndrome”, which means he can only communicate through blinking his eyes.
The devastating condition leaves the sufferer in a state where he or she is aware and awake, but cannot move, speak or swallow, due to paralysis of the muscles.
Boro players from the team of 1986, in which Gary starred, including Bernie Slaven, Colin Cooper, Stuart Ripley and Paul Kerr, will be playing for Thornaby-born Gary, who made 202 appearances for Boro between 1986 and 1993.
The match will also feature Riverside favourites Craig Hignett, John Hendrie, Steve Vickers, Dean Windass, Curtis Fleming, Dean Gordon, Marlon Beresford, Alan Moore, Graham Kavanagh, Neil Maddison and Jason Euell, together with Ayresome Park stars Mark Proctor, Billy Ashcroft and Terry Cochrane. Gary's son, Luke, is set to wear his dad’s No 2 shirt.
A Boro XI will face a Ramsdens Celebrity XI, and full line-ups will be announced in the coming weeks.
Other team-mates from the side that won back-to-back promotions in 1987 and 1988 will also be there to show their support on the day, including Boro boss Tony Mowbray, keeper coach Stephen Pears, former England and Manchester United star Gary Pallister and Boro commentator Gary Gill.
The match is being organised by Middlesbrough Former Players Association and Boro fan Carl O’Hara in conjunction Middlesbrough FC and club sponsors Ramsdens.
Ramsdens CEO Peter Kenyon said the company was delighted to be able to support such a worthy cause.
“We are honoured to be involved with this event and would urge all fans to come along,” he added.
Tickets, priced £10 adults and £1 for Under-16s, are available now from the Riverside Stadium ticket office, MFC Official in Captain Cook Square, the nine Ramsdens shops across Teesside or by calling 0844 499 1234. Seats can also be purchased online.*
All profits from the match will go towards Gary’s family and the Gary Parkinson Trust Fund.
*Please note that it is initially planned for only the Riverside’s West Stand to be open, so Season Card holders are not able to book their usual matchday seats for the benefit match.