THE wife of critically-ill former footballer Gary Parkinson is planning to meet a man who has recovered from her husband’s condition.

Blackpool FC coach Gary, who also played for Burnley and Preston North End, suffered a massive stroke last month and was diagnosed with locked-in syndrome, where a patient is awake and aware of what is going on around them but cannot move or communicate apart form with their eyes.

Now, his wife, Debbie Parkinson, who lives in Bolton with the couple’s three children, says she hopes to find strength from another victim of ‘locked-in’ syndrome who was left almost totally paralysed 17 years ago.

Graham Miles, from Brighton, could only blink after being paralysed by a stroke but he is now able to walk with sticks.

Mrs Parkinson said: “I hope to meet him so we can share our experiences.

“Hearing about Graham has given me strength. I’m just concentrating on Gary, he’s still on the high dependency unit but I’m staying positive.”

Gary, 42, is best remembered by Burnley fans for scoring the winning goal in the Division Two play-off final at Wembley in 1994.

He was taken to the Royal Bolton Hospital on September 6 following his stroke.

He was transferred to Salford Royal Hospital after his condition worsened.

But he is now back at Royal Bolton Hospital, although he could be moved to a new neurological unit in Bury.

Blackpool fans have raised over £3,000 for his family since Gary had the stoke.

Mrs Parkinson, who is keeping a bedside vigil at Royal Bolton Hospital, has thanked the resort for supporting her family.

She said: “We are astonished with all the support, it’s keeping me strong.

"It’s amazing that people have sat down and written to me.

“I’m touched with all the fundraising.”