Published: 13:00, 05 June 2014 |
Updated: 13:27, 05 June 2014
An ex-Gills goalie is making good progress, after being taken off a ventilator following a crash in South Africa.
George Howard, 20 and from Rainham, was involved in the accident less than a fortnight ago while on holiday.
Friends have now said he is breathing on his own without life support.
A statement said: "He still has a long way to go but this is great news and a big step forward. I will keep everyone updated as soon as I hear more news.
His friend Martin Di Fede has set up an online fundraising page to support George's family.
More than £3,000 was raised within 11 hours of the site being created.
Initially, the funds were to pay for George's treatment, estimated to cost £15,000 a day.
But his insurance company has now agreed to pay for his care, so the money raised will go towards helping George's family stay with him in South Africa.
George, a former Howard School pupil, joined Gillingham FC at the start of the 2013/14 season as backup to number one goalkeeper Stuart Nelson. He left the club at the end of the season.
He has also played for Sevenoaks, Bromley and Charlton Athletic youth side.
His former Charlton and Sevenoaks teammate Richmond Kissi has organised a fundraising match which is taking place on Sunday at Coldharbour Leisure Centre, Chapel Farm Road, Eltham, kicking off at 1.30pm.
Players will include Gills legend Andy Hessenthaler, ex-Gills player Luke Rooney and former player and Bromley manager Simon Osborn.
The Twitter name @prayforgeorge has been set up by a football fan and the footballing community has been tweeting its support.
To donate to the fund, visit http://www.gofundme.com/9ktsy0
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