MAXIMUS Maddocks will take a trip down memory lane at Southend United this weekend.

Maximus was just seven years old when he walked out alongside Shrimpers skipper Chris Barker at Wembley for the Football League Trophy final against Crewe Alexandra back in 2013.

And Maximus will be mascot again on Saturday in a game being played in memory of Chris who tragically took his own life in 2020.

“Chris was a great captain and being mascot again will be a nice way for me to pay my respects,” said the Thorpe Bay-based Maximus.

“I wish the game was being played under different circumstances and my thoughts go out to Chris’s family and friends.

“Being mascot at Wembley I remember my legs were trembling coming out of the tunnel and I remember Chris was shouting out words of encouragement to the team behind us.

“But I’ll always remember he still managed to have time to make sure I was OK and not scared.”

Maximus, who is now 16, will not be alone in remembering Chris this weekend as the match will see a number of his former team-mates reunite at Roots Hall.

Former Blues favourites Barry Corr, Bilel Mohsni, Mark Phillips and Ryan Leonard will be among those back together for the game, while the opposition side will include Chris’s team-mates from the other clubs he played for.

His brother Richie and nephew Charlie will also be involved in the match which is raising funds for South East and Central Essex Mind.

And the game will create more memories for Maximus who can still recall almost every second of his big day at the world famous home of English football.

“I remember when it was announced that I’d been selected to be the first Southend mascot at Wembley I was really excited,” said Maximus.

“I had been supporting Blues since I was a toddler, going to games with my dad.

“I was an avid Freddy Eastwood fan, and the thought of being able to have a kickabout and meet Freddy and the team as a seven-year-old was just amazing.

“It was a dream come true to be kicking a ball about on the Wembley pitch and I remember appearing on the local news and seeing myself in the newspaper which was unreal.”

Echo: Now - Maximus Maddocks will be mascot again on SaturdayNow - Maximus Maddocks will be mascot again on Saturday

Blues were roared on by more than 30,000 fans at Wembley in a match they went on to lose 2-0.

But Maximus was made to feel extra special at the stadium.

“I remember being treated like a celebrity,” said Maximus.

“I was given a tour with my mum behind the scenes. “We were shown the changing rooms with the kit hanging ready for the players and the press room.”

But when it came to heading out on to the pitch, Maximus stayed close to the captain.

“During the warm up session I was just running around following Chris,” said Maximus.

“I joined in the stretching session and had a kick about too.

“The team included me in everything, well as much as they could with a seven-year-old.

“Chris was a really big part of the day and none of my family will ever forget that day and what he did.”

>’A Game for Barks’ takes place at Southend United on Saturday, with kick-off 3pm.

Tickets are priced £5 for adults and £1 for under-16s, and will be available on the day of the game.