The family of William Collins have said they will fight the council's threats to demolish his giant headstone and have now got security to help protect the monument.
The huge 37-ton memorial - believed to be the UK's largest private grave - is to honour the late bare-knuckle boxer and dad-of-nine dubbed 'Big Willy', who died in July 2020 aged just 49.
The monument hit headlines earlier this week, after it was reported that Sheffield City Council said it hadn't approved permission for it to be built.
Councillor Alison Teal, Executive Member for Sustainable Neighbourhoods, Wellbeing, Parks and Leisure at Sheffield City Council, said the memorial was 'built without permission' and the council was 'currently considering' its next steps.
However, the family have now said the structure was signed off and have vowed to fight any objections from the council.
Speaking to the Sun, the family said they had now enlisted the help of a security firm and had fitted CCTV to keep an eye on it.
Willy's daughter Mary Collins told The Sun: "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."
She went on to say the monument is 'not even the tallest' in the cemetery.
Mary added: "There is one to the first Bishop of Sheffield that is taller than this."
Today, 24 March, Sheffield City Council released a new statement in which it said it had 'reached out to the family'.
Councillor Teal told The Sun in a statement: "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."
Featured Image Credit: SWNS
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