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Francis Benali was born and raised in Southampton. He has lived in the city his whole life and is married to Karen and has two children Luke and Kenzie. He played nearly 400 games for Southampton Football Club during twenty years at Saints. He currently works as a motivational public speaker, pundit, and is a football Intermediary with 73 Management.
In recent years Franny has undertaken two ultra endurance challenges raising money for Cancer Research UK. In 2014 he ran to every Premier League football stadium, running between 40 and 50 miles a day, every day for three weeks - 1000 miles in total. In 2016 he then ran and cycled to all the Premier League and Championships football clubs, running a marathon then cycling at least 75 miles (100 miles a day) every day for two weeks. To date he has managed to raise over £500,000 for Cancer Research UK.
Franny has been recognised by Barclays as the first recipient of their Spirit of the Game award. He is also a Cancer Research UK Flame of Hope Award Winner 2015 - Fundraising Volunteer of the Year - and JustGiving Celebrity Fundraiser of the Year 2015.
In November 2016 he became an Honorary Freeman of the City of Southampton.