Chris bows out at AFC Sudbury

A FOOTBALL club stalwart paid an emotional farewell to the role he loves at the weekend, writes Neil Bracegirdle.

Chris Olley, a volunteer at AFC Sudbury, was at the Live and Kicking and LeeStock festivals at the club’s ground.

The occasion was tinged with sadness for the 51-year-old, who has been forced to give up the role due to the affects of motor neurone disease.

“It was quite an emotional time for me,” said Mr Olley, from Bank Side in Long Melford.

“Sadly, I can’t drive any more, I have lost the use of one arm and the other is starting to go the same way.

“I am wheelchair bound and totally reliant upon careers so I have had no choice but to step down.”

Mr Olley, who has three children and three step-children, was diagnosed with motor neurone disease in 2007.

The condition, which gets progressively worse and is incurable, damages the nervous system, leaving muscles wasted and weak.

In recognition of his five years at the club, proceeds from the Live and Kicking festival, along with money raised from a raffle, will go towards the Motor Neurone Disease Association, which funds research into the illness and provides support for sufferers.

“I am touched and delighted the club has decided to support the association as research into this awful condition is vital,” said Mr Olley.

“There will not be a cure in my lifetime, but hopefully there will for future generations.”

Richard Instance, one of the event organisers, thanked Mr Olley for his involvement with the non-league club.

“Chris has been a great servant to the club and everybody here has been touched by his plight,” he said.

“Raising money for research into the condition is the very least we could do.”