A SERVING police officer and former professional footballer has teamed up with a local shoe shop to raise £3,000 for charity after being diagnosed with cancer.

Nicky Smith currently serves as a police constable in the Braintree and Witham area.

In a bid to raise cash for the Essex-based Helen Rollason cancer charity, Nicky teamed up with The Pavers Foundation.

The shoe shop, which is based at Braintree Shopping Village, is a staunch supporter of charity work with the Braintree outlet being managed by Nicky’s wife, Tanya.

Tanya submitted a grant application to The Pavers Foundation, resulting in a £3,000 donation to the Helen Rollason charity on Nicky’s behalf.

It comes after Nicky, a Braintree resident, was diagnosed with Esophageal cancer in March.

Nicky first joined up as police officer in Suffolk 26 years ago but transferred to Essex Police 16-years-ago  and has been working in Braintree and Witham for around 12.

However, since his diagnosis, Nicky has been on leave while undergoing chemotherapy treatment.

The veteran officer also works at Colchester United matches but will also be known as one of Colchester United’s greatest players.

A stalwart at left-back, the 53-year-old played for Colchester United between 1992 and 1997 and was a leading member of the first-team squad when the U's won the GM Vauxhall Conference and FA Trophy in his first season.

Nicky also played for Southend United and Braintree Town.

Nicky added: “It all started with a few chest pains, like heart burn pains.

“Didn’t think nothing of it, being a bloke, being stubborn but the wife said, ‘no you need to go see the doctor’.

“I’ve been off since May 19, been for chemotherapy sessions, just waiting on surgery and then back for further chemotherapy.

“Tanya had to present a case to her bosses at Pavers. I didn’t even know my wife was doing it.

“The people who suffer most are your support network of people close to you.

“I feel they’re the ones who are suffering because, they have nothing, but they see me suffering.

“You hear about the charities, but you don’t know what they do, but because I’ve now got cancer, you realise what fabulous work they do.”

Manager at Pavers, Tanya Smith, says the charity is a “rock” for many people suffering with cancer and their loved ones.

She added: “My world was turned upside down being told that Nicky was diagnosed with oesophagus cancer.

“I cried lots and of course spoke to my family. Yet why was it I felt alone?

“I started to do some research for support groups, I already knew of Helen Rollason.

“My company, through The Pavers Foundation, supports local charities twice a year. We are asked to submit a grant, and as this was now close to my heart, I wanted to try and support this amazing charity.

“So, I put an application in telling them my story and about Helen Rollason.

“It went to a selection panel, and I was awarded the whole amount I applied for £3,000.

“Pavers are an amazing company to support charities and what a worthy charity.”