FORMER professional football Francis Benali took to the Medina Theatre stage last Saturday (June 25) for a real-life insight behind the scenes of his career and his contributions to charity.

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‘An Evening with Francis Benali’, aka Franny, was excellently put together by Seamless Entertainment and hosted by Franny’s daughter, Kenzie, who kept the evening running smoothly.

Following a VIP meet and greet, audience members took their seats for an unscripted interview delving into the Southampton FC legend's career - playing against the likes of Alan Shearer, David Beckham and Ian Wright, his ultra-endurance challenges - raising over £1 million for Cancer Research UK - and family life.

The interview invoked some humorous football memories, personal challenges, triumphs and inspiring stories.

After a short interlude, Franny fans were invited back to ask their own questions.

One audience member asked Franny whether he thinks he will attempt another ultra-endurance challenge in the future.

Francis said he had been informed of the Island's near marathon 26-mile length, which immediately got him thinking about a potential Isle of Wight challenge.

He said: “The numbers do seem to work, so never rule it out!

“Who knows, maybe there could be something!”

Isle of Wight County Press: Francis and Kenzie Benali on stage at Medina Theatre. Photo courtesy of Six Point Media.Francis and Kenzie Benali on stage at Medina Theatre. Photo courtesy of Six Point Media.

On the night, a silent auction, held by show organisers Seamless Entertainment, raised £880 for the Wessex Cancer Trust on the Isle of Wight.

Speaking about the evening, Franny said: “I thoroughly enjoyed it!

“It was the first time I’ve ever done an event like that on the Island, and I wouldn’t hesitate to do something else again.

“It was nice to be able to spend time with those who came along.”

Pete Moore and Rebecca Gregory, who made the show possible, said: “Seamless Entertainment would like to thank everyone who attended and supported the evening. You made it a brilliant night to remember.

 "On the night, the silent auction raised £880, helping to raise funds for the Wessex Cancer Trust on the Isle of Wight.

“Seamless Entertainment will continue to auction selected memorabilia from the auction night to help raise money for the charity.

"For people in attendance for the VIP meet and greet – if you would like to receive your professional photo taken on the night, please contact the team via email, and they will send you instructions to download the image:"