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  • Luke Johnston

Former Whitehaven Coach Ged Stokes seriously ill in South African Hospital

Former Kiwis rugby league international Gerard Stokes, the father of England cricket star Ben, is seriously ill in a South African hospital, the England and Wales Cricket Board says.

Ged was also the coach for Whitehaven RLFC.

Whitehaven RL Vice Presidents Club said “Our thoughts and best wishes go out to former Haven Coach, Ged Stokes, who is critically ill in hospital in South Africa. Ged became seriously ill yesterday and was admitted to hospital in Johannesburg. Our thoughts are with his wife, Deborah, and family at this time and we pray he pulls through.”

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In a statement, the ECB said Christchurch-based Stokes Snr, known as Ged, was admitted to hospital on Monday in Johannesburg after suffering a "serious illness".

The statement said he was in a critical condition but gave no further details.

Ben Stokes was excused England's training session at Centurion, ahead of the first test against South Africa, so that he can be at his father's bedside.

Ged Stokes was a tough front-row forward and played one test for the Kiwis in 1982 before turning to coaching.

He and wife Deb raised gifted sportsman Ben in Christchurch and Wellington before Stokes Snr took a job in northern England coaching Workington Town and going on to coach Whitehaven.

Having shifted to England at the age of 12, Ben Stokes never looked back and went on to take the cricket world by storm as one of the world's top allrounders.

Ged and Deb returned to Christchurch but travel around the world to support their son.

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