Gloucester Rugby star Ed Slater thanks fans for support after motor neurone disease diagnosis

Ed Slater has thanked fans as almost £45,000 has been raised by his club Credit: PA

Gloucester Rugby player Ed Slater has thanked fans for their support after he was diagnosed with motor neurone disease at the age of 33.

The club announced the star's diagnosis yesterday afternoon (July 22) and said he will retire from the team with immediate effect.

Following the diagnosis, the club set up a JustGiving page to support the player and his family, which has already raised almost £45,000.

In a tweet, Ed Slater said: "I want to say thank you to everyone for all your messages of support and generosity.

"It gives me and my family a huge amount of strength in a time of sadness for us.

"I will meet this challenge head-on. Ultimately I can’t win but I will fight with everything. Hope is not lost."

Funds raised by the club have already reached double the intended target of £20,000, reaching £45,160 in the first 24 hours.

The club said: "The direction of these funds will be determined in due course, whether it be supporting Ed and his family directly and/or a selected MND charity."

The Motor Neurone Disease Association also responded to the star's tweet, saying: "We're here for you and your family, Ed, whenever you need us.

"We know how amazingly supportive the rugby community is too. Thank you for bravely sharing your diagnosis and helping to raise awareness of MND.”