Postman Matt from Cranfield to take football-themed walk to Tottenham Hotspur

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It’s to mark his ‘craniversary’

Footie fan and postie Matt Shanley is marking the fourth anniversary since having brain surgery with a 47-mile football-inspired walk.

The 47-year-old will be joined by his wife Julie, 38, to walk from Cranfield United Football Club to the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium over two days in September.

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Both clubs hold a special place in Matt’s heart – not only a life-long Spurs supporter but his grandad used to serve as president of Cranfield United FC too.

Matt Shanley in hospitalMatt Shanley in hospital
Matt Shanley in hospital

And that’s not all – his uncle used to manage the Cranfield reserve team, and his son played for its children’s team, the Cranfield United FC Colts, from the age of five to 17.

The walk – on September 6 – will mark the Brain Tumour Research charity’s annual Walk of Hope fundraiser, which coincides with Matt’s fourth ‘craniversary’, the anniversary of his surgery to remove a rare subependymoma brain tumour in 2018.

Julie, who works in the Thames Valley Police control room, said: “Since his first year, we’ve marked every craniversary. We try to make it more of a celebration rather than a morbid day.

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“In lockdown I had a cake made for him that looked like a brain and last year our son, Harry, got a unique tattoo designed from Matt’s brain scans.

Matt and Julie ShanleyMatt and Julie Shanley
Matt and Julie Shanley

“This year’s walk was Matt’s idea really as he wanted a bit more of a challenge. We did the Walk of Hope two years ago and managed about 10 miles, raising almost £3,000.

“Matt’s got strong family ties to Cranfield and is an avid Tottenham fan. When we were discussing his op with the neurosurgeon, we were told he might not walk or talk again and could die. I had a million questions but Matt’s only one was ‘I’m not going to wake up an Arsenal supporter am I?’”

She added: “Raising money for Brain Tumour Research is important to us because of everything Matt’s been through.”

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Brain tumours kill more children and adults under the age of 40 than any other cancer yet historically just 1% of the national spend on cancer research has been allocated to this disease.