RESTORATION of Swindon Town legend Sam Allen’s grave will begin in earnest after club historian Dick Mattick secured the money to fund the project.
The Sam Allen Appeal was launched in an attempt to restore the club legend’s grave ahead of the Robins’ Southern League championship centenary.
Last August, the Adver reported the rediscovery of Sam’s grave in Radnor Street Cemetery, when local historian Jim Turner, of Ipswich Street, found it in a sorry state.
After enlisting the help of Dick, the pair were contacted by Sam’s surviving relatives in the town, 81-year-old Pat Chapman and her sons James and Robert.
Sam served Town for 51 years as secretary and manager and received the Football League’s long service award in 1941, as he kept the club alive during the Second World War.
Dick is aiming to have the restoration completed within 16 weeks, in line with the 100-year anniversary of the club winning the Southern League title in 1914.
More than £1,000 was donated by Royal Wootton Bassett funeral directors Johnson and Daltrey, who will also carry out the restoration works.
The full cost of the project has been tabled at £3,500, with £800 in donations received when Dick last spoke to the Adver in January.
The final £1,500 has now been raised.
Any money raised and not spent on the restoration will be added to a pot of money to be used to commemorate Swindon Town players who died in the First World War.
Dick has enlisted the help of Swindon Town Supporters’ Club, which has made a donation and a commitment to share the cause among its members.
Its support is added to that provided by Swindon Financial Services, which has donated a £100 cheque.
“We are hoping to hold a commemoration service in the same way as William Pitt in Liddington in 2011,” said Dick.
“We are looking into having some form of service at St Saviour’s when it’s done because that was Sam’s church.”
Pictures of the grave’s original features and condition have been sourced by Jim and Dick.
Jim has used photos from the 1980s as a guide for the project. It is hoped the gravestone will be white.
A lengthy inscription will also be rewritten as part of the project. It is believed the message refers to Sam’s time as Swindon Town’s longest-serving manager.