BRACKNELL Town FC's Joe Gater is seeing more and more of his family and friends at the Larges Lane ground these days – even when he is not playing, writes Dave Wright.

The personal trainer has his own gym and fitness centre there where he is getting them in shape – at least to the highest level possible – for fund-raising events in aid of the Stroke Association.

And the family's fund-raising efforts are being supported by one of the biggest names in the music industry, Tony Hadley, of Spandau Ballet fame, who is the cousin of Joe's mum Victoria.

Dad Mark had a catastrophic stroke in April 2018 and his family were warned he might not survive.

But after five months in a hospital and neuro-rehabilitation, he made a remarkable recovery and is now back watching his son play.

Mark has also had considerable support from the Stroke Association with one of their members making weekly visits to see Mark, helping him to walk about and motivating him to do more.

Mark's daughter-in-law, Hannah, has also seen her parents, Graham and Ruth, experience strokes.

Hannah said: "Having the right support around you is what pulls you through. While family help with the emotional side and the general day to day things, you also need practical support and knowledge about things you've not had to deal with before. This is where the Stroke Association makes a huge difference and that's what inspired us all to help race money for them."

Members of the Bracknell-based family along with friends, 13 in all, are planning to take part in 5k and 10k runs later in March.

Joe's mum, Victoria, commented: "Joe has been working hard knocking us into shape and getting us fitter generally.

"Tony (Hadley) has heard what we are doing and says he is supporting us all the way."

They have already raised more than £1,300, but hope Bracknell players and supporters will boost that total with personal donations or via the fund-raising page, id=124