Dearly missed love ones of Clarets fans could soon be remembered forever at an eagerly anticipated Turf Moor Memorial Garden.
The garden, which will include plaques in memory of supporters’ loved ones, would be created on spare land opposite the Jimmy McIlroy Stand.
And in a fitting tribute to the club’s greatest ever player, a statue of McIlroy is also planned, recreating an iconic photograph of him sat in the dugout before the famous Orient game of 1987.
The project is being led by a committee of fans and supported by the club, who have promised to secure the land from Burnley Borough Council and maintain it at a peppercorn rent.
The Burnley Express, which revealed early plans for the garden in 2016, can now reveal that the dream is one step closer after Burnley Football Club this week pledged £30,000 towards the first phase of the project, which should be complete by the start of next season.
Mr Peter Briggs, chairman of the newly formed Memorial Garden committee, said: "Burnley FC pledged to support the Memorial Garden with an amazing £30,000 donation, which will hopefully be matched pound for pound with the gracious donations from Clarets supporters.
"This will fund the building of the first phase of the Memorial Garden, which will start before the end of the season.
"We would like to thank outgoing committee members, club pastor Barry Hunter, club historian Ray Simpson and club ambassador Derek Scott, who have all helped to guide the project over the past three years. Also an honourable mention is given to Geoff Salter who worked as the committee treasurer.
"We thank them all very much for their support so far. We have come such a long way over the last threee years and it wouldn’t have been possible without everyone’s support and efforts.
"The steps taken this week will preserve the Memorial Garden for years to come and will safeguard all the plaques and monuments that will be placed in the garden for the foreseeable future."
The first phase of the project will see landscaping, re-paving and two large memorial walls built. A time capsule will also be buried in the garden containing a signed Clarets shirt, programmes and a letter from a local school.
The second and third phases, which will require extra funding, will see a second pathway leading to the shops in Brunshaw Road built, creating a new entry into Turf Moor. The final phase will see a statue of club legend Jimmy McIlroy erected.
The new board of Burnley FC directors, Mr Clive Holt and Mr Barry Kilby joined previous committee members, Mr Peter Briggs, deputy Mayor of Burnley Charles Briggs, along with Mrs Veronica Simpson and Mr Andy Devanney, to guide the Memorial Garden to completion.
The meeting also saw the land leased by Longside Properties to the newly formed company, BFC Memorial Garden Co. Community Interest Company which was formed to oversee the development of the project. The board agreed the Articles of the Association and the Memorandum of Association of the BFC Memorial Garden Co.