Work on the Chesterfield FC Memorial Garden is now underway, with the first sod of grass dug at 8.30am on Tuesday, June 10.Designed to provide an area for family and friends to remember late Spireites supporters as well as commemorating Chesterfield players and officials killed in the two World Wars, the Memorial Garden will be opposite The Hub at the back of the Spencers Solicitors Community Stand. The scheme is the initiative of the Chesterfield FC Supporters Club.
Builders Tony Bointon and Andy Ball began groundworks on the project which, subject to funding, is due to be completed by the end of July.
To date, in excess of £19,000 has been raised and fundraising is continuing at a pace with a dinner on August 2 being one of the major remaining events.
Fundraising co-ordinator Phil Tooley, who was present at the ceremonial start, said: "It's great to see work starting. It's been a long road to get to here and there's still a long way to go but I'm hopeful the ongoing generosity of supporters and businesses will ensure we get over the line."
Regarding the dinner, which is set to coincide with the completion of the garden and is two days before the 100th anniversary of the start of the Great War, he said: "We're set for a great night in the presence of Her Majesty's Lord-Lieutenant of Derbyshire, The High Sheriff of Derbyshire and The chairman of the Derbyshire branch of The Royal British Legion.
"However, our real guests of honour will be Albert Collins who, at the age of 91, is one of the oldest surviving ex-Spireites, having played for the club in the Second World War and Hazel Greaves, 88, who is the daughter of Chesterfield's only Victoria Cross winner, Fred Greaves VC.
"The speaker on the night will be Corporal Andy Reid who amazed everyone when, after losing parts of three limbs when coming into contact with a landmine in Afghanistan, only stayed in hospital for two weeks. His story will be truly inspirational."
Tickets are now available individually or in tables of ten for a minimum donation of £35 each. Please contact Phil via email@example.com to book, but be quick as it's sure to sell out quickly.
*Photo shows fundraisers Phil Tooley, Ian Browse and Pete Whiteley at the start of the Memorial Garden build.