Exeter City to dedicate Boxing Day match to motor neurone disease

Exeter City Football Club will dedicate their home match on Boxing Day to motor neurone disease, in honour of ex-player Marcus Stewart and supporter Pete Eveleigh.

Stewart revealed that he had been diagnosed with the condition in the autumn of 2022. 30 year-old Pete was diagnosed in November.

Pete works for the Exeter City Community Trust and has thanked the club, its fans, his friends and family for their support.

The match against Portsmouth on Boxing Day will see awareness of MND raised and funds collected for the Darby Rimmer MND Foundation and the Motor Neurone Disease Association.

For Pete, he started noticing his body struggling with simple tasks and felt his speech begin to slur.

Pete said he was expecting the diagnosis when it came, saying: "When you hear news like that, it's still hard-hitting.

"The first week or two - very difficult, dark places, difficult having to speak to loved ones, explain to them. Because people aren't too educated about it we also had to explain the severity of it, which adds a bit more pressure."

Pete is married to Jess and has a two-year old son, Oliver. Jess said: "Oliver is our focus and our driving force.

"We have to pick ourselves up and stay positive and focused for him and look to do anything that we can now to spread awareness and help with the funding.

"Obviously, there's a lot of money that's just been pumped into the MND Association. So hopefully we're positive something may come from that and potentially help Pete as well."

Former Grecians and Yeovil Town player Marcus Stewart has spoken to Pete since his diagnosis.

He said: "Use it until you lose it in a rugby term. So I kind of take that on that I'm going to use my body until I lose it and that's what you've got to do.

"That was what I was kind of saying to Peter, really, just use everything you've got until you can't and get on with life, live normally."

Thousands of pounds have already been raised to support Pete and his family.

He said: "It really does make a difference. It's really helpful to know that people are out there thinking about us and sort of generally care. So yeah, we're eternally grateful for that."