A charity football match is being held tomorrow (April 16) in Charlton for an incredibly special nan who “cheered on everyone” at each game her grandson played in as a child.

Chris Bennett decided to host the football fun day in her honour to raise funds for Cancer Research UK as she has fought cancer three times – and now has terminal cancer in her spine.

He told the News Shopper how his nan, Linda Smith, started taking him to football training when he was younger, along with his brothers, and that it meant everything to them.

Chris added: “I was a shy boy and football was my life, but I never had that courage to ask to go.

“She took me to my first training session when I was eight.

“She was a busy lady but no matter the weather she always took us each weekend at 8am, 9am, and she never asked for anything.

“I say to her now ‘do you know how much that meant to us?’ and she doesn’t even realise.

“She just says she did it because she enjoyed it – which says everything about her.”

Linda was recently diagnosed with cancer in her spine and the family have been told that it has spread and become terminal – but there is no specific time frame on how long Linda will live.

Chris explained that the family are “trying to enjoy every day that they have with her” and that Linda has good days and bad days at home, but “always put on a brave face for everyone” as she “just wants to make everyone happy”.

News Shopper: Chris, his daughter Avarie and LindaChris, his daughter Avarie and Linda (Image: Chris B)

Chris wanted to get all of his old teammates from Woolwich Youth and Afc Woolwich back together for the fundraiser and so reached out to those he still had contact with.

He explained that even though some of them had not spoken for 15 years they all jumped at the chance and began sharing stories about his nan and the good old days.

Chris added: “My nan was completely different – she cheered everyone on at the games, not just me and my brothers, and she knew everyone’s name.”

He remembers her making banners, badges and wearing crazy wigs and face paints to cheer on the team as they played – especially during finals.

Chris played in the Woolwich Youth team from when he was eight until 15 and Linda was there every weekend without fail.

Following this Chris went on to play for the men’s team AFC Woolwich from around 18 to 28.

News Shopper: AFC Woolwich below and Woolwich Youth aboveAFC Woolwich below and Woolwich Youth above (Image: Chris B)

The players who used to play for Woolwich Youth will be on one team and the other team will consist of players who used to play for AFC Woolwich – with a small amount of cross over as some played with Chris throughout.

The first thing his nan said when he told her about the charity game was “how lovely it will be for all the boys to meet up again”.

If Linda is well enough, she looks forward to attending the match at the Meridian Sports and Social Club in Charlton tomorrow and seeing Chris’s old teammates back together.

At the end of the game, a raffle will be drawn with a huge range of prizes with everything from flowers, gift vouchers, kids toys to kickboxing lessons – all donated by the community.

Raffle tickets are £5 a strip but there will also be face painting, penalty shoot-out and other methods of fundraising with all money raised going to Cancer Research UK.

Chris estimates kick-off to be 4.45pm but players and guests will be arriving from 3.30pm – with the bar open and the chance for families to enjoy the afternoon’s events.

Anyone is welcome to attend and Chris would love to see more of the community at the game.

News Shopper: FlyerFlyer (Image: Chris B)

Chris said: “My nan has lived in the same house ever since I’ve known her.

“She's always done volunteering work for the local community as well – she is just such a special person and the most special people they don't even realise how special they are.”

He explained that his Grandad said something that encouraged him to take a leap of faith with the charity match and after they saw another event being held in tribute of someone who had already passed.

Chris said: “We were just talking about how sometimes people leave a bit too late and the person sadly passes away, then the friends and family will do like something in memory.”

“My grandad just said to me ‘Why do people wait?’ and I never kind of thought of it like that.

“That's when I decided I'm not going to wait. I’m going to do it while she's here, while she's with us, so that she can be a part of it.

“If they mean that much to you then tell them and make sure whilst they're here that they know because life's too short and anything can happen.”