ParksieBy Hugh Southon

Jovial Hammers legend Phil Parkes wants his legion of fans to know that he is going to beat the bowel cancer that has invaded his body!

He has had every check possible conducted by specialists and in an exclusive interview with ClaretandHugh revealed: “It hasn’t spread and can be dealt with in a straightforward way.

And he let out a huge guffaw of laughter when he added: “My blood count was a bit low so they told me I had to have an IRON INJECTION! I told ’em I wasn’t sure that was necessary.”

Amazingly, the hero of a hundred Hammers saves said: “I will be having the operation to remove the growth on May 20 so ring me on the 21st and I’ll let you know how it went!

We had contacted the big man after hundreds of you had asked for your best wishes to be passed on to him after it was revealed that he had been diagnosed with bowel cancer.

And the brilliant former keeper – believed by many of us to be our best ever – was humbled by your good wishes.

He said: “We are family aren’t we. That’s very moving indeed . This has made my day – will you thank all the guys and girls for me PLEASE”

Parksie explained that the cancer had been caught early and that after every possible check the specialists had found that it had spread nowhere.

“The surgeon who has conducted all the exploratory things tells me he is totally confident that I will make a 100 per cent recovery.

“I am sure that all will be well and that I will be back a fit as a fiddle next season. I – with the medical people – will beat this thing no problem! ”

Parksie was keen to send his best wishes to another stricken Hammer Ray Stewart who is facing open heart surgery.

He said “We have swapped texts and encouraged each other and I reckon we might manage a penalty shoot-out when we have both recovered.”

Trust me guys – this is one great man and it was a privilege to speak with him on our behalf.

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Hugh Southon is a lifelong Iron and the founding editor of ClaretandHugh. He is a national newspaper journalist of many years experience and was Bobby Moore's 'ghost' writer during the great man's lifetime. He describes ClaretandHugh as "the Hammers daily newspaper!"

Follow on Twitter @hughsouthon