Family of ‘King of Sheffield’ vows to draft in security to guard memorial

The family of the "King of Sheffield" William Collins have pledged to employ security to guard his grandiose memorial after the local council threatened to demolish the monument.

The 37-tonne Italian marble memorial is thought to have been erected a week ago in Sheffield's Shiregreen Cemetery without the consent of Sheffield City Council.

Patriarch traveller William Collins died in Spain in 2020, and his memorial has its own solar-powered jukebox, two life-size statues of him and also its own CCTV system.

But Sheffield City Council has since said it has specific rules about the building of memorials to "ensure fairness" and it was considering its "next steps" concerning the 49-year-old's final resting place.

Despite the council's objections, the family of William Collins have said they will fight every step of the way for the monument to stay in place.

Speaking to the Sun, William's daughter Mary Collins accused the council of racism for wanting to take it down.

She also vowed to hire security to watch over it in the event that the council may decide to act.

She said: "I do not understand why they would take against this tribute to my father.

"Any attempt to have us take this down would be fought legally as it would be a blatant matter of racism.

"The Council knew what we were doing. They signed it off. The footings were down for months and it took the builders two weeks to construct the headstone so they had plenty of chances to raise objections."

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Mr Collins, a bare-knuckle boxer, was born in Athlone in County Westmeath, Ireland, hence the four Irish tricolours adorning the monument.

One of 16 children, he was the patriarch of the Collins family and had around 400 nieces and nephews.

The memorial states that he died in Majorca on July 7, 2020, after collapsing.

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