An 11-year-old football fan got the chance to meet an England legend on Friday when Sir Geoff Hurst signed his 1966 World Cup final programme.
Ollie Woods, 12, was given the programme by his grandmother, Lesley Turner, after enjoying a fine footballing season while playing for Hadleigh United the year before.
It had belonged to his grandfather, who attended the final, and, when Mrs Turner heard Sir Geoff was to be a special guest at the football club’s celebrity dinner, she made a hopeful plea to have the programme signed.
“When I saw it advertised, I just thought I would email the idea,” said Mrs Turner, from Hadleigh. “I thought it might have been a bit of a cheek.
“I got such a nice email back. They had it all set up for us so Ollie could meet him.
“The club were so kind. I couldn’t believe I shook Sir Geoff Hurst’s hand.”
Mrs Turner and her husband lived in London at the time of the World Cup and watched all of England’s group stage matches.
They were put into a ballot for tickets for the final but received only one ticket, so husband John attended, keeping the programme as a treasured souvenir.
Mr Turner, a retired policeman, died four years ago.
After Ollie’s footballing season with Hadleigh, Mrs Turner decided it was time to pass the programme on to a new fan.
“We didn’t tell him he was going to meet Sir Geoff at first,” she said, “Then his mum asked him if he knew of Sir Geoff and he said ‘of course’.
“When I asked him if he wanted to meet him, his jaw hit the floor. He was so thrilled.”
Having sat in an envelope for many years, the programme was described as being in remarkable condition by Sir Geoff.
Ollie, who lives in Upper Layham, is no longer able to play for Hadleigh United due to school commitments, but Mrs Turner said they would always think fondly of the club.
The evening was a sell-out, with former Arsenal star Ian Wright also a guest.