A serving policeman and former professional footballer has teamed up with a local shoe store to raise £3,000 for charity after being diagnosed with cancer.

Nicky Smith is currently a police officer in the Braintree and Witham area.

In a bid to raise money for Essex-based cancer charity Helen Rollason, Nicky has teamed up with The Pavés Foundation.

The shoe store, which is based in Braintree Shopping Village, is a strong supporter of charity work, with the Braintree outlet being run by Nicky’s wife, Tanya.

Tanya applied for a grant from the Pavers Foundation which resulted in a £3,000 donation to the Helen Rollason charity in Nicky’s name.

It comes after Braintree resident Nicky was diagnosed with esophageal cancer in March.

Nicky first joined police in Suffolk 26 years ago but transferred to Essex Police 16 years ago and has worked in Braintree and Witham for around 12 years.

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

The veteran officer also works in Colchester United games but will also be known as one of Colchester United’s greatest ever players.

A mainstay at left-back, the 53-year-old played for Colchester United between 1992 and 1997 and was one of the main members of the first team when the U won the GM Vauxhall Conference and the FA Trophy in his first season.

Nicky also played for Southend United and Braintree Town.

Nicky added: “It all started with some chest pain, like heartburn.

“I didn’t think about it, being a guy, being stubborn, but the woman said, ‘No, you have to go see the doctor’.

“I’ve been on leave since May 19, had chemo sessions, just waited for surgery and then came back for more chemo.

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

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

“I have the impression that they are the ones who suffer because they have nothing, but they see me suffering.

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

Pavers director Tanya Smith says the charity is a ‘rock’ for many people with cancer and their loved ones.

She added: “My world was turned upside down to hear that Nicky was diagnosed with esophageal cancer.

“I cried a lot and of course I talked to my family. But why did I feel alone?

“I started researching support groups, I already knew Helen Rollason.

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

“So I applied telling them my story and about Helen Rollason.

“It went through a selection panel and I received the full amount I requested, which was £3,000.

“The Cobblestones are an amazing company to support charities and what a charity worth its salt.”