A BACUP man has told of his surprise after discovering he is related to England’s World Cup final hat-trick hero Sir Geoff Hurst.

NHS worker Chris Bradley, 49, used online family history records provided by ancestry.co.uk to pinpoint his great-great grandmother Mary-Jane Bradley – Sir Geoff’s great-grandmother.

Mr Bradley, of Hawfinch Close, said he now plans to write to Sir Geoff in the hope of one day meeting the legendary 1966 World Cup winner.

Mary-Jane Bradley was born in Macclesfield in 1856 and married James Burt in 1875.

The couple’s daughter, Fanny, then married James Hurst and gave birth to Charlie, Sir Geoff’s dad, in 1919.

Another of Mary-Jane’s children, David, had a son called Herbert, Chris’s grandfather.

Chris said: “I always heard rumours growing up that the family was related to a famous footballer but we never really knew who.

“We knew Sir Geoff was born in Ashton-under-Lyne but never really followed it through because we thought it was tenuous.

“Then, when my dad retired he took up researching the family tree and managed to obtain citations verifying who Mary-Jane Bradley was.

“I’ve been sick for the past two years so that inspired me to take up the mantle and get clarity once and for all.”

Unlike former West Bromwich Albion and Stoke City striker Sir Geoff, Chris never played sport to a professional level, although his father, Lesley, represented Cheshire schoolboys and was a trainee at Crewe Alexandra.

One gap in the family tree that remains is that of Chris’ great-great grandfather.

He said: “We believe that David, my great-grandfather, was born illegitimately before Mary-Jane married her husband James Burt.

“David’s birth record therefore has no father named on it so it could be that my great-great grandfather isn’t necessarily James Burt.

“Either way it’s amazing to have that connection with Sir Geoff.”