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'Get well' message to fans' favourite

PUBLISHED: 15:19 18 November 2009 | UPDATED: 11:13 23 August 2010

THE Fleet s award-winning groundsman is recovering after being admitted to hospital with a stomach problem. Peter Norton, 77, has won praisefor his excellent care of Ebbsfleet United s Stonebridge Road ground in Northfleet, gaining the admiration of hund

THE Fleet's award-winning groundsman is recovering after being admitted to hospital with a stomach problem.

Peter Norton, 77, has won praisefor his excellent care of Ebbsfleet United's Stonebridge Road ground in Northfleet, gaining the admiration of hundreds of fans.

In April 2007, the devoted fan, from Knockhall Road, Greenhithe, became the unlikely star of the official Fleet club song for the FA Trophy final.

Peter Norton vs Justinio's Beat the Weather, created by MyFootball

Club members, was available to buy through iTunes in the build-up to the Wembley victory.

Chairman Roly Edwards, who visited him last Thursday night, says he has been struggling with his health for some time but in typical style refused to visit a doctor.

At the end of last week he undertook blood tests and was admitted to hospital by his doctor. A statement on the club's website from Mr Edwards said: "His stomach problem is a result of blood loss over a period of time, causing anaemia but a blood transfusion [last Thursday] has improved his condition and, although still very weak, he has perked up considerably."

He added it was "good news" that his condition appeared to be treatable with medication and he should make a return to managing the club's ground.

In April 2007, Mr Norton was one of three groundsmen to be shortlisted for a FA (Football Association) Groundsman of the Year Award.

He was commended for his work but narrowly missed out on the top spot, being beaten by James Skachill, from Hyde United, at a presentation lunch at Windsor Racecourse.

Supporting the annual awards, Sir Trevor Brooking, the FA's Director of Football Development, said: "All the ground staff nominated for an award contribute immeasurably to the improved quality and quantity of football played at grassroots level."

Fleet fan Jason Harper, from Northfleet, said: "Peter is as important a part of Fleet as anyone here. We all wish him the best and hope to see him at the ground again soon. Nothing will keep him away for long."

Mr Norton has been groundsman at the club for more than 10 years. Both the club and the Reporter team wish him a speedy recovery.

Fans can leave messages of support for Mr Norton on the club website by visiting www.ebbsfleetunited.

co.uk and following the link. They will be printed out and given to him.

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