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Grave Mistake Big Willy Collins' £200K grave with solar-powered jukebox built 'without permission'

The 37-tonne headstone commemorates the “King of Sheffield” Big Willy, who died at the age of 49

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Big Willy Collins' tombstone

Big Willy Collins' tombstone

Big Willy Collins' tombstone

Britain’s “largest headstone” over the grave of bare-knuckle boxer, Big Willy Collins, may have to be removed after Sheffield Council said that it was erected without permission.

The 37-tonne headstone, which is crafted from solid Carrara marble, commemorates the “King of Sheffield” Big Willy, who died at the age of 49 in July 2020 after collapsing on holiday with his family in Majorca.

However, the memorial could be dismantled soon as council bosses say that it was constructed without approval after it was unveiled just last week, MailOnline reports.

Cllr Alison Teal, Executive Member for Sustainable Neighbourhoods, Wellbeing, Parks and Leisure at Sheffield Council said: “We are aware of a large memorial which has been erected in Shiregreen Cemetery.

“This memorial was built without permission, and we are currently considering our next steps.”

Cllr Teal said that the grave may be in violation of planning laws that dictate the size and dimensions of burial grounds.

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The 'King of Sheffield', bare-knuckle boxer, Big Willie Collins. 

The 'King of Sheffield', bare-knuckle boxer, Big Willie Collins. 

The 'King of Sheffield', bare-knuckle boxer, Big Willie Collins. 

“All plans for grave memorials should be submitted to the council and must receive approval from Bereavement Services before they are erected,” she explained.

“For submissions, applicants must provide several details, including the material and size of the memorial, the proposed inscription and a sketch.

“A memorial should be less than 75mm thick and no taller than 1.35m from ground level.

“Cemeteries are a place where people can come, pay their respects and visit loved ones who are no longer with us.

“We understand memorials are deeply personal, however we must have rules in place to ensure fairness.”

But Mary Collins, the eldest of Big Willy’s daughters, insists that the family are not breaking any rules.

“We bought all the plots as it's a family grave, so we're not taking over more space than it should be,” she told the Yorkshire Post.

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“From behind, all of the plots are ours, but when someone dies the headstone starts at the head. We're not worried, and it's well taken care of. We jet wash that road all the time. We have a lot of respect.”

The huge memorial, which is estimated to have cost at least £200,000 features two life-sized statues of Big Willy as well as depictions of Jesus Christ and biblical scenes and a solar-powered jukebox playing the late father-of-nine's favourite tunes.

Mourners who visit his final resting place can also connect to the speaker through Bluetooth to play their own songs.

The massive memorial is surrounded by Irish flags and features a statue of the Pieta, with Mary cradling Jesus Christ.

The headstone also features LED lights that can change colour, and is under 24-hour CCTV monitoring, which his large family have access to in order to see and "speak" with him.

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