IMAGINE being fit and active - then confined to a wheelchair.

Football was an important part of Murray Watson’s life. He began playing for Guiseley at the age of seven and continued to play and captain the team through to Under 17 before playing open age football for Otley Town and for Guiseley School with friends in a weekly five a side league.

“Football was a huge part of his life playing and supporting Newcastle United. It was one of the three loves of his life - Football - Friends - Family,” says Murray’s proud father, Kenny.

The 18-year-old had a bright future ahead of him and was looking forward to starting his university studies in business management in Newcastle.

But in 2012 his life, as he knew it, was turned upside down as Kenny, recalls.

“Murray got a very rare and horrible type of brain tumour in 2012. The first signs were he had a sore back and sore arms but he was doing his A levels so we thought it could be down to writing and revision.

Another tell-tale sign something was wrong was when Murray fell over while playing football.

“We took him to the doctor, they did some tests and asked him to go for an MRI,” explains Kenny.

Murray was also given a dose of steroids to reduce the inflammation that had been picked up on a scan.

Kenny recalls there were signs of improvement. Murray managed a break to Turkey with his family but following their return from the trip in August 2012 his concerned parents took him to hospital.

“He came away with us and we thought something wasn’t right. He was still stumbling a little bit and struggling to walk long distances. We took him back into hospital the day we came back.”

Murray remained in hospital until December 17 2012 and, while there, was told the devastating diagnosis of an inoperable tumour inside his spinal cord.

Kenny recalls how his son’s condition worsened and he became more physically disabled.

“He lost the use of his legs while in hospital and he struggled with his hands and arms,” recalls Kenny.

He underwent chemotherapy and radiotherapy treatment but his parents knew it wasn’t a positive prognosis and were prepared for the worse.

“We knew then there was not going to be a recovery. We had been told this was extremely serious and wasn’t operable. It would shrink it and retain it but we were determined he was coming home.”

Kenny recalls how they adapted the garage at their Yeadon home installing lifts and hoists for Murray.

In April 2013 following a number of complications, Murray went back in to hospital for a scan and discovered the tumour had returned.

“In early June we got a phone call from the consultant - we knew at that point it was terminal,” recalls Kenny.

Despite his determination to keep going, Murray died on August 13 2013. He was only 19.

Kenny, who also has a 21-year-old daughter, Amelia, says he cannot put his son’s loss into words. “It is just horrendous,” he says.

“It was horrendously hard. He was strong right the way through, he never felt sorry for himself.”

Murray’s loss was felt not only by his parents Kenny and Nicola, but by his close circle of friends who had already set up the Murray Watson Trust and had started fundraising before his death to purchase a stand up specialist wheelchair.

Now Murray’s memory and legacy is living on through the Trust.

“We were incredibly lucky to have had Murray as part of our lives for 19 years and with his friend and our friends support, we continue to raise money into the trust and help causes and charities that we know Murray would have felt passionate about,” says Kenny.

Among the causes they are supporting is a disabled football team in Leeds. The local brain tumour charity, BTRS (Brain Tumour Research and Support Across Yorkshire), is also a cause very much close to their hearts.

Originally know as Andrea’s Gift, the charity was set up in Bingley to raise funds in memory of Bradford mum, Andrea Key, who died from a brain tumour more than a decade ago.

Since its inception, the charity has flourished and now supports people affected by brain tumours across the country.

Brain tumours are the biggest cancer killer of children and young people and are the biggest cancer killer of people under 40 yet lack of funding and research into the treatment of malignant brain tumours means survival rates are no better now than they were 40 years ago.

Kenny was keen to raise funds for BTRS after reading the facts about brain tumours and recognising how many young people around Murray’s age are affected.

“Murray always championed the underdog and when you read the facts about brain tumour research you will see why we raised funds for BTRS,” explains Kenny.

“If it helps anybody who goes through it then it is well worth it.”

In October last year Kenny, Steve McFet, Chris Stones, Kev Mullen along with former Bradford City and Leeds United footballer, John Hendrie, oh and Alfie the dog embarked on the West Highland Way, walking from Milngavie to Fort William.

Kenny explains John Hendrie has been a friend of the family for many years. “We have been friends for years, he knew Murray, we have known each other for a long time.”

John explains he knew Murray from being a young boy as he played football with his son, Luke, at Guiseley. The families had been friends ever since.

“Having to cope with it when you lose someone so young is the worst thing that could happen to you in your life,” says John.

He explains when Kenny said he wanted to walk the West Highland Way in memory of Murray he was keen to get involved.

“It was a privilege to do it with him and for him to do the walk in memory of his son was something special,” adds John.

Their intention was to raise £3,286 - a specific total in memory of Murray:- 1314 was his favourite number; 1966 was the year England won the World Cup and 6 was the number on his Guiseley Football shirt from under 7 to 17. 1314+1966+6 equals £3,286.

However the group managed to top their target by raising £6,322.25.

A BTRS spokesman says: “The BTRS team were completely blown away by this incredible total and overwhelmed by the wonderful support from Kenny and his friends/family.” For more information about BTRS call 0113 340 0111 or visit