Chesterfield supporters have raised over £2.5k in memory of Cici Holden - daughter of ex-Spireites player Dean Holden - who died in May at the age of 17 months after contracting a rare bacterial blood infection.
A collection at Chesterfield’s match against Oldham on Tuesday night was added to donations received at the club over the summer to make a total of £2,511.92.
At the request of Dean and his wife Danielle, the money will be given to St Mark’s Primary School in Worsley, Greater Manchester, which is attended by their children, five-year-old Joey and Ellis, who is three.
Some of the money will fund the construction of a Cici memorial garden at the school. “It’s a church school and they don’t receive government funding so we thought it would be nice to help them out,” said Dean.
“Danielle used to take Cici with her when she was fund-raising for St Mark’s so there are memories of her at the school. It will be nice for Joey and Ellis to be able to visit the garden and plant seeds in Cici’s memory.”
Dean, who now plays for Walsall, attended the Oldham match with Danielle and addressed the fans at half-time. He said: “We were absolutely amazed to hear how much had been raised and I want to say thanks to everyone at the club because the support we’ve had has been overwhelming.
“It’s obviously been a really tough time for us but genuinely the support we’ve had from Chesterfield fans has been more than from any club I’ve been at. It really does make a difference because it keeps us going.”
Chesterfield director Ashley Carson, who sanctioned the collection, added his praise for the club’s supporters. He said: “I can’t thank the supporters enough for their generosity. The volunteers who went round the stadium with collection buckets did a great job because it’s never easy to ask for money.
“To raise that sort of figure is a proud achievement for the club and I’m delighted to hear that some of the money will pay for a permanent memorial to Cici. It was an honour to host Dean and Danielle on Tuesday night and they will always be welcome at Chesterfield.”