Blackburn Rovers and Len Johnrose showed their mutual respect for one another on Saturday afternoon as the club paid tribute to the former midfielder's battling courage and the man himself declared his appreciation for the stadium's facilities for the disabled.
Invited to the clash with Sheffield Wednesday as the club's guest of honour to address the crowd about his battle with Motor Neurone Disease (MND) and ongoing fundraising and support for the MND Association, Johnrose was given a warm reception, and afterwards spoke of his admiration for the club's provision for those with mobility and accessibility issues. It was a timely comment, coming just 48 hours before today’s EFL Day of Disabilities.
"Superb hospitality from Rovers today, who are trying to lead the way in access for the disabled," he tweeted upon his return from Ewood Park - a fine testimonial for a club that strives to make the club as welcoming and friendly as possible for all visitors through its #OneRovers programme - but the most important message that was taken away from the day was the courage and determination that the former Rovers, Burnley, Bury and Swansea City player has shown since his diagnosis with MND.
He spoke to the crowd about his plans to undertake a skydive in aid of the MND Association to support their research into the condition and support for those who live with it, and whilst the weather prevented it from taking place the day after the match as first planned, he has been quick to re-arrange the plans for this coming Sunday, 9th December.
To most people, the idea of jumping out of a plane wouldn't be top of their bucket list, but Len - in typical fashion - is relishing the idea of facing this challenge face on.
"I'm actually not nervous about doing it," he admitted, during his interview at the stadium. "It's something that I've always wanted to do and I thought that if I was going to, I may as well achieve some good out of it.
"Obviously I want to raise as much money as I can by doing it, so I don't want to sound cheeky, but I may as well take the chance while I'm here to ask the fans to donate whatever they can!
"All the funds will go directly to the Motor Neurone Disease Association and it's going to be fantastic."
Being such a popular character at every club he represented is certainly standing Len's awareness drive in great stead, and he was glowing about the way that Blackburn Rovers fans and the wider community - both inside and outside the game - have rallied to his cause.
He continued: "The reception that I've received from the fans here has been fantastic. It may have been 27 years since I played here - which suddenly makes me feel old - but I really appreciate the response from the Rovers fans, so I thank them very much.
"The support of the general public has definitely helped me since I found out about having the condition. I never expected so much media interest in me, and that's not why I did it, but I just wanted to raise awareness about MND and so many people have been fantastic in helping me to do so. I couldn't be more grateful to them all.
"I've stepped back a little from the world of football in recent times to undertake more media activity, but the support of the football community towards my fundraising has been amazing and long may it continue."
If you'd like to contribute to Len's ongoing support for the Motor Neurone Disease Association, please head to his JustGiving page to pledge a donation towards this weekend's skydive.
Blackburn Rovers are further marking the EFL Day Of Disabilities by welcoming their Canadian international goalkeeper Jayson Leutwiler to their Community Trust’s weekly disability football coaching sessions, hosted every Monday evening from 5pm to 6pm at the Blackburn Rovers Indoor Centre, adjacent to Ewood Park.