The Lancaster Guardian is urging readers to back a fund set up to support the family of Neil Marshall.
The city continues to mourn the death of one of its sporting greats, the Lancaster City Football Club legend having passed away aged just 31 following a battle with cancer.
The Neil Marshall Memorial Fund has now been launched to help his wife Kim and young children Max and Daisy.
Organisers, who are planning 12 months of fundraising, hope the many hundreds from far and wide who have paid tribute to the long-serving Giant Axe captain will now support the cause in Marshall’s memory.
All gate receipts from Lancaster City’s emotional game against Mossley on Tuesday night, the first since the Dolly Blues stalwart’s passing, will be donated to the fund in a bid to kickstart a year of support for the Marshall family.
The team - his father-in-law David ‘Ginner’ Speak, former Lancaster City chairman Mick Hoyle, club president Ian Sharp, ex-president Dave Needham, former senior officer at Lancaster City Council and lifelong supporter Roger Muckle, Derek ‘Chalkie’ Moorby and respected local football coach George Norrie - hope this will just be the start.
Mr Hoyle said: “We want to raise as much money as possible over the next 12 months in Neil’s memory for his family.
“We want to make sure they are looked after because they shouldn’t have lost Neil so young.
“With everything he’s done for the football club and the town we feel as though the least we can do is make an effort for his family.
“The reaction (to his death) has been remarkable so far and if anyone wants to help, be it with a car boot sale of by running a marathon or anything, they should get in touch with us.”
Marshall, who lived just yards from the club on Beech Street, made 435 appearances across 10 years with City having joined back in 2006 as the club looked to the local leagues due to financial difficulties.
He gained a reputation as a fierce but fair competitor, quickly making the number five shirt his own and becoming Mr Lancaster City.
Hundreds of messages of condolence were posted on Facebook and Twitter by family and friends, current and former team mates and the wider football community after his death last Wednesday.
Former Liverpool great Jamie Carragher, who played alongside Marshall in a charity match earlier this year, and ex-world champion boxer Anthony Crolla, who attended Marshall’s testimonial dinner in Lancaster, also paid tribute to the popular player.
Morecambe FC and both the Lancaster and Morecambe Service to Youth League and the North Lancashire and District Football League held a minute’s applause at their games over the weekend.
On Sunday, singer Stuart Michaels, wearing a Marshall’s number five shirt, invited the city’s Market Square to pay tribute at Lancaster’s Christmas Lights switch-on event, performing his and wife Kim’s wedding song, Jason Mraz’s ‘I Won’t Give Up’.
A plumber by trade, Marshall continued to play until May despite being told late last year that he could not have any more surgery on his groin, the cancer having first been detected in his lymph nodes five years ago.
For more information on the Neil Marshall Memorial Fund contact Mick Hoyle on 07860 688104.
Any wishing to donate can make a bank transfer to account number, 11798286, with sort code 40-27-02, using reference Neil Marshall Memorial Fund.
His funeral will be held at Lancaster Priory this Monday, November 28 at noon before moving onto Scotforth Cemetery at 1.30pm.
Everyone is then invited to Lancaster Cricket Club to remember Neil.