Charlton fan Ben Jay to lead Addicks out against Norwich

Charlton supporter Ben Jay will lead the teams out at The Valley on Sunday afternoon ahead of the Addicks’ Emirates FA Cup third-round tie against Norwich City.

Ben, who will be joined by dad Garry and Charlton midfielder Jake Forster-Caskey, was diagnosed with a rare form of liver cancer in July and has recently learned that his chemotherapy treatment has been ineffective.

“Football is Ben’s world, it’s his whole passion,” explained mum Sharon. “And at the time of Ben’s diagnosis it came about that he was going to a Charlton game. That’s when he first met Jake [Forster-Caskey] and their relationship has grown from there.

“Tracey [Leaburn, Head of Player Care] then got to know Ben; she’s been following Ben’s story and she contacts my husband, who has been keeping her in the loop. Ben just absolutely loves Charlton, he loves it!.” 

Ben watched the Addicks’ 2-0 triumph over Ipswich Town from an Executive Box with his friends and family last month, when he also received a visit from Thomas Sandgaard and Dr Raelynn Maloney.

As well as meeting the Charlton owner, Ben toured the CharltonTV studio, presented by DNEL Ltd, where he met host Scott Minto, Alan Curbishley and guest pundit Matt Holland.

Since then, Ben has enjoyed a visit to the club’s Sparrows Lane training ground to watch Johnnie Jackson put his Charlton squad through their paces, as Sharon explains.

“Because Ben hasn’t been very well recently, we’ve now been told that the chemo isn’t working and we’ve got to move on to another plan B,” she says. “That’s when Tracey set up for Ben to come down to the training ground and watch all of the players train. 

“To be here watching the football, he feels like he’s taking part in it and he’s fulfilling his dream as well. For me it’s all about just keeping him happy and keeping the memory alive. That’s what we’re trying to do and it’s all thanks to Charlton.

“The Charlton family is amazing," continues Sharon. "They’ve really come through for Ben. For me, look what it’s doing to him, it just puts a great big smile on his face and that’s what he needs because he is going through a really tough time and he does have to fight. Charlton have pulled out all the stops for him and for that I’m so grateful.”

Garry added: “Charlton is a great family club. It’s second to none, really. Especially with what they’ve been doing for Ben, it’s been fantastic. I just want to thank everyone for that - it’s been brilliant.”

An ardent shot-stopper himself, Ben naturally took a keen interest in Charlton’s goalkeepers’ union while at the club’s New Eltham base.

“It was good watching the ‘keepers up close, especially being a ‘keeper myself,” he beams. “Listening to some of the stuff that the coach [Glyn Shimell] had to say, it was good watching them pull off some amazing saves and watching the players at the end do training and playing a match.”

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