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Former Gillingham FC goalkeeper, George Howard, has woken up from a coma following a car crash in South Africa.

By Clare Freeman

It is the news they had all been waiting for, ex-Gills goalkeeper George Howard has woken up from his coma.

Yesterday his friend Martin Di Fede posted the update on the online donation page set up for George.

It said: "I've received the call we've all been waiting for... George has woken up! To be expected he's a little groggy but is making good progress.

George Howard has arrived back in the UK

"I'm unsure of his condition and state but know he is making good progress. Will update as soon as I know more."

The 20-year-old, from Rainham, was involved in a crash last month while on holiday in South Africa and had been in intensive care ever since.

Last week friends said he was making good progress after being taken off a ventilator, and was breathing on his own without life support.

So far £13,600 have been donated on the fundraising page. Initially, the funds were to pay for George’s treatment, estimated to cost £15,000 a day.

But his insurance company agreed to pay for his care, so the money raised has been going towards helping George’s family stay with him in South Africa.

George Howard at Ride with the Gills, with Gary Borrowdale, Chris Whelpdale, Danny Kedwell, and Suzie Illsley

The appeal attracted support from former England international Kenny Sansom and former editor and TV personality Piers Morgan.

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.

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