Family to take ashes of Grimsby Town fan Matthew Dawson to Wembley FA Trophy final
THE family of an avid Grimsby Town fan will make an emotional journey to Wembley with the ashes of their football-mad son.
The Football Association said they would welcome the pilgrimage by Matthew Dawson's family, who will be with his top team in spirit as they grace the Wembley turf on Sunday for the FA Trophy Final.
And he will not be the only one, as courageous Cleethorpes Grenadier Guardsman James Johnson will also be cheering on the team from his hospital bed, after suffering such severe spinal injuries while serving in Afghanistan he is not fit enough to travel to the game.
As reported, Matthew, known to his many friends and former schoolmates as Matty, died in August 2011 after a three-year battle with cancer.
Just days before he passed away, members of the Grimsby Town squad visited the 20-year-old in hospital in his home town of Louth, and presented him with a Number 24 Grimsby Town strip.
The inspirational teenager told the players he was confident Town were destined to make a Wembley return and predicted a triumph for his top team.
Matty's dad Steve said: "When he predicted they would make it that season, he was only a year out. Matty would always complain that I was the one who had seen Grimsby Town in their glory days and all he had watched was them get relegated. On Sunday he will be there on one of their glory days at last."
His ashes, which have been kept in a casket at the family home will be carried in his brother Charlie's back-pack.
The staunch supporter went with his dad to Wembley when he was just seven years old, but the team's last visit to the hallowed ground in 2008 clashed with a family holiday to Florida.
However, that did not stop them from willing the team on, with both Matty and his dad sitting in Manchester airport proudly sporting their Grimsby Town strips and scarves.
Tragically, it was just a week after they returned from the holiday that Matty was diagnosed with the most aggressive form of Rhabdomyosarcoma, a cancerous tumour of the muscles that are attached to the bones.
But, whenever his fight with cancer got him down, it was football that kept him going.
After learning Town were to return to Wembley, Charlie, 18, contacted the FA for permission to take his remains to the match and the family arranged a 49-seater coach from Louth. All the seats are taken.
Steve, who works for packing firm DS Smith in Louth, said visits to Grimsby Town's home ground at Blundell Park, Cleethorpes, were no longer the same as when theywent as a family.
He said: "It is going to be an emotional journey. He would have been first in the queue when the tickets went on sale for Wembley.
"I got there and queued, but I know Matty would have had me out of my bed sooner so we were at the front."
Mum Dorothy added: "Charlie is all set to carry him there. I have never been to Wembley before. I am looking forward to it and hope it turns out to be Grimsby's day."
The family has also helped raise around £5,000 for cancer charity CLIC Sargent, which supports families of cancer sufferers.
Grimsby Town players raised hundreds of pounds for the appeal by growing moustaches for Movember.
Round Louth Walkers also raised hundreds of pounds by taking part in the annual walk and former schoolmates at Cordeaux School, Louth, have held non-uniform days and cake stalls in memory of Matty.