Tributes paid to Lancaster University student

Joe Parks.
Joe Parks.

The son of a football coach has died in hospital - more than two years after a horror crash left him in a coma.

Lancaster University student Joe Parks, from Thornton, the son of Aston Villa’s goalkeeping coach Tony Parks, was left in a critical condition at Royal Preston Hospital after sustaining serious head injuries in the crash on the M6 in February 2013.

Police said the then 26-year-old was heading northbound on his way home from work at around 7.10pm when his silver BMW came off the carriageway just before the exit slip road at Junction 29 Clayton Brook.

His car rolled several times down an embankment before hitting trees and coming to a stop.He died in Royal Preston Hospital at 1.20pm on Saturday.

Scores of tributes have been paid to Joe, whose father Tony was on the books of Blackpool FC in 1996/97, although he did not make an appearance for the first team.

Tim Sherwood, Aston Villa manager, said he was made aware of the death before his side’s 1-0 win over West Ham on Saturday. “The victory came with mixed emotions because our thoughts were with Tony and his family.”

Aston Villa tweeted a message of sympathy from their official Twitter account.

It read: “Aston Villa would like to send its deepest condolences to Tony Parks and his family following the sad passing of his son Joe.”

Following the accident, the world of football came out in support of the former Montgomery High School and Lancaster University student.

During the pre-match warm-up before Tottenham’s clash with Newcastle, players - including star winger Gareth Bale – and then manager Andre Villas-Boas wore T-shirts with the words “Get Well Soon Joe” written across the front and “Praying For You” on the back.

At the time, Joe’s father Tony was goalkeeper coach at Tottenham.

On BBC’s Match of the Day, England and Spurs legend Gary Lineker also sent his best wishes to the family.

A minute’s silence is expected to be held at Villa’s final home game of the season against Burnley on Sunday May, 24.