FORMER Whitehaven Rugby League coach Ged Stokes has spoken out about his battle with brain cancer – and his old club are on his side.

Stokes, the father of England cricket star Ben Stokes, revealed his brain cancer diagnosis this week in an interview with the New Zealand Herald.

And Haven has sent words of solidarity to Stokes, who coached the rugby league side from 2008 until 2010 (Stokes also played for and coached Workington Town).

Whitehaven RLFC chairman Tom Todd said: “It is very sad news. He is very much a larger than life character by all accounts.”

Stokes earned the admiration of the Cumbrian sporting community.

Todd said: “When I speak to people who served under him for that short while, they all speak well of him as a coach and a man.”

Todd added that Stokes’ approach to the illness is admirable.

“He’s a very brave man to tell the world what he’s suffering from. A lot of people don’t like to discuss those things, I think we should discuss them more.”

The Stokes family have a strong connection to Cumbria, having moved to Cockermouth when Ben was 12 and he honed his skills at the town’s cricket club.

Todd said: “The connection with his son as a local lad makes it all the more poignant.”