Council says huge ‘£200,000’ marble headstone built for ‘traveller king’ boxer ‘Big Willy Collins’ WAS given planning permission but has broken rules because finished structure didn’t match its original design
- Bare-knuckle boxer Big Willy Collins collapsed and died in Spain in July 2020
- His family were granted planning permission for a large headstone for his grave
- Collins, 49, was buried at Shiregreen Cemetery in Sheffield, South Yorkshire
Council chiefs today said Britain’s ‘biggest headstone’ was given permission – but it broke planning law as the finished structure didn’t match its original plans.
Sheffield City Council said it had now ‘reached out’ to the family to discuss changes that will be needed to bring it back in line with the cemetery’s regulations.
The huge marble memorial was created to honour bare-knuckle boxer Willy Collins, a dad of nine, who died aged 49 after collapsing while on holiday with his family in Majorca in July 2020.
The memorial, which is crafted from Carrara marble and features two life-sized statues of Big Willy, could be torn down after it was revealed by Sheffield Council that it was built without sticking to the agreed planning approval
Mourners who visit his final resting place can also connect to the speaker through Bluetooth to play their own songs
Big Willy Collins, pictured, was a renowned bare knuckle boxer from Athlone, in the Irish Republic
The gargantuan memorial is surrounded by Irish flags and features a statue of the Pieta, with Mary cradling Jesus
It’s believed his family may have paid £200,000 to create the headstone at Shiregreen Cemetery, Sheffield, South Yorkshire, which is crafted from solid Carrara marble.
Initially, the council said that the massive mausoleum, weighing 37-tonnes, had been constructed ‘without permission’.
But today (Wed), they released a new statement clarifying that while the Collins family did obtain permission for a headstone, it had failed to match the designs they had submitted.
A spokesperson said: ‘Sheffield City Council approved plans for a memorial; however, the plans which were submitted and approved differ from the memorial now in place.
‘This was not fully appreciated until after the structure was fully unveiled.
‘We have reached out to the family and intend to discuss changes which need to be made in order to satisfy the cemetery rules and take into consideration other cemetery users.
‘It would not be appropriate to discuss the details further as this is a sensitive matter and we wish to speak with the family fully in the coming days.’
Willy died aged 49 after collapsing while on holiday with his family in Majorca in July 2020
The huge headstone and tribute to the late father-of-nine weighs in at 37 tonnes