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England legend Gordon Banks to speak at Molineux in charity fundraiser

Entertainment | Published:

England goalkeeping legend Gordon Banks is to be guest of honour at a special fundraiser ahead of celebrations to mark the 50th anniversary of the country's 1966 World Cup victory.

The 78-year-old former Stoke City goalkeeper has been invited to speak at a celebration dinner at Molineux organised by Tettenhall Rotary Club in aid of former Wolves 'keeper Bert Williams' Alzheimer's Appeal and other charities.

It will be one of his first public appearances after revealing in December that he is fighting renal cancer. The England icon lost his first kidney to cancer 10 years ago and doctors have warned that his remaining kidney will have to be removed if the new cancer grows.

He said he was drawing on the spirit of '66 and memories of his greatest sporting moments to give him the strength to fight the disease.

  • For more information on upcoming events in the region click here

The veteran was part of the World Cup-winning side that beat Germany in the thrilling 4-2 triumph at Wembley but is almost better known for saving a header from Pele in the 1970 World Cup quarter-final against Brazil.

Banks, who is taking powerful chemotherapy tablets in a bid to avoid a transplant, said: "If I could make a save like the one against Pele, while playing against the greatest in the world, then I will be able to battle through this health problem."

The long-standing international, whose playing career spanned 15 years, described Bert Williams, who also played for England, as his goalkeeping hero. The pair became firm friends in later years.

Bert was England's oldest living international who played in the 1950 World Cup, winning 24 caps in a glittering career which saw him help Wolves become one of the top teams in the world, winning the FA Cup in 1949 and the old First Division title in 1954.

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The Wolves favourite, who died in 2014 aged 93, was involved in several campaigns for the Alzheimer's Society after his wife Evelyn died from the illness in 2002. He set out to raise £100,000 for the charity and in the end raised more than £160,000.

Banks used to travel from his home in Crewe to Bert's house in Shifnal on visits and helped him move into his new home at The Croft when he needed residential care.

Tickets for the event on March 3 are £30 and can be obtained by phoning 01902 771177 or calling at Prontaprint in Chapel Ash.

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