Burnley football legend John Pender opens up about life with Motor Neurone Disease

A former Burnley football captain, who now uses a wheelchair after being diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease, has opened up about life with the condition.

For the past two years, the condition, which affects the brain and nerves, has attacked John Pender’s body.

The 58-year-old, who now lives in Telford in the West Midlands, is one of only two former Burnley captains to win promotion twice with the club in the 1990s.

But now, MND has forced him to rely on constant care from his wife, Denise.

He told Granada Reports: “I can’t even walk. I’m in a wheelchair and I can’t stand up or make stuff. I just sit in my chair mainly, all day, every day.”

John blames his football career for his diagnosis. He said: “My wife asks me all the time ‘would you play again?’ And I would.”

His family have now raised more than £10,000 for John’s care to help improve his quality of life.

“We want Dad to experience everything that he can do”, his daughter Nikki Pender said. “You don’t realise the difficulty until you actually come to it.

“We’ve got lots of plans to keep fundraising – one for dad and one for Motor Neurone in general.”

The reminders of the good times are never far away for John, who despite playing for multiple clubs, supports Burnley to this day.

He said: “I just think they’re a good club and I was privileged to play for them.”

Those he captained would no doubt say the same about him, his strength in speaking now perhaps makes him an even greater inspiration.