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Memorial to Tigers legend restored

The last resting place of one of the most influential figures in Leicester Tigers' history has been restored.

The headstone to Tom Crumbie in Welford Road Cemetery has been reinstated thanks to an agreement between the Friends of Welford Road Cemetery, Leicester City Council and Tigers.

It was in a state of disrepair and Tigers agreed to fund the restoration work after an approach by the Friends of Welford Road Cemetery group.

The headstone has been cleaned, put back into place and the inscription carefully re-lettered, with the work carried out by a local stonemason.

Mike Harrison, Tigers president, joined members from the Friends of Welford Road Cemetery and Leicester City Council parks services at Crumbie’s plot to mark the completion of the work.

“Generations of Tigers players and supporters have much cause to be grateful to Tom Crumbie for his ambitious dedication to Leicester Football Club,” said Harrison.

“From 1895, for 33 years he devoted his life to the welfare and prestige of our famous club, raising its profile to national levels and investing in ground developments still evident today.

“His unique vision and work were the foundation stones upon which our present world-wide reputation is built and we are delighted that his memory will be further acknowledged with the excellent restoration work recently completed.”

Crumbie was a key figure in Tigers’ history, serving as honorary secretary from 1895 until his death in 1928. He presided over a hugely successful period for the club and laid the foundations for its future growth and success.

He made Tigers an invitational side, introduced the traditional Christmas period fixture against the Barbarians and built the south stand at Welford Road, which is now named the Holland & Barrett Stand.

“He was way ahead of his time,” said Tigers historian Stuart Farmer said. “The foresight was incredible and when the game turned professional in 1995 it meant Tigers were well placed.

“He was incredibly successful in what he did and it’s an amazing legacy that he has left us.”

There are some 213,000 people buried in 40,000 graves in Welford Road Cemetery. It is the last resting place of 52 Tigers players and officials including John Braithwaite, who made 359 appearances from 1885-1907, former captain Graham Willars, who made 338 appearances from 1959-1987, and John Parsons, a former president, honorary secretary and captain.

Cllr Piara Singh Clair, assistant city mayor responsible for heritage, leisure and sport, said: "Our city's parks and green spaces benefit so much from the commitment of groups like The Friends of Welford Road Cemetery.

"Working closely with Leicester Tigers, they have helped reinstate a memorial to a key figure in our city's sporting history and continue the work to protect the historical significance of this award-winning cemetery."

Richard Taylor, vice-chairman of the Friends of Welford Road Cemetery, said: “Welford Road cemetery contains many important figures from Leicester's sporting history but none more influential than Tom Crumbie. We are delighted to have worked with the Tigers and city council to restore his memorial, which, fittingly, overlooks the Welford Road ground.”