Waterlooville nurse with early onset Parkinson's in starting line-up of first English team at international competition
A FORMER nurse from Waterlooville is to take part in a football tournament for people with early onset Parkinson’s – as part of the first English team in the competition.
Nick Cole, 47, and 10 other players with the neurological condition from across the country will be heading to Copenhagen to take part in the Ray Kennedy Cup.
The one-day event, named after the former Arsenal forward who has Parkinson's, will see 14 teams from across Europe take part.
Nick, who worked as a nurse for more than 20 years, said he was feeling 'confident' about his team's chances, with the players training with Morecambe FC last month.
He said: 'We have some really good players in the team, so I'm feeling confident we could win.
'But I have no idea what the other teams are like.'
Nick admits that he is 'not the biggest football fan,' but is hoping to challenge stereotypes around his condition.
He said: 'We want to fight the stereotype that it only affects older people.'
The dad of three first noticed a twitch in just one of his fingers when he was 42, but he was told by his doctor it was not a serious concern.
Five years later, Nick found his left hand was significantly slower than his right when it came to typing, and a neurologist diagnosed him with the degenerative illness.
He said: 'You find you have on-days and off-days.
'Sometimes I become tired very quickly and my tremors become a lot worse.
'I have found playing football has helped a lot - it definitely leaves me feeling better after a game.'
The team is fundraising for Cure Parkinson's Trust, raising more than £7,000 so far.
The trust funds research around the world, dedicated to finding new treatments for the illness.
Around 145,000 people in the UK are living with Parkinson’s, and it is predicted that 1 in 37 people will receive a diagnosis of condition in their lifetime.
Will Cook, CEO of the trust, said: 'We are very grateful to the whole team for their support for our work.
'Good luck in Denmark, boys: it’s coming home!'
The competition will kick off on Saturday, August 31.