Rushden & Higham FC stand to be rebuilt in Zac’s memory

A stand at Rushden & Higham United FC is to be replaced and named after Zac Knighton-Smith. He is pictured in 2012 with  Nathan Godby, Bill Perry and Ruth Nurrish
A stand at Rushden & Higham United FC is to be replaced and named after Zac Knighton-Smith. He is pictured in 2012 with Nathan Godby, Bill Perry and Ruth Nurrish
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Volunteers are pulling out all the stops to rebuild a football stand and name it after a boy who lost his fight with cancer aged nine.

Zac Knighton-Smith often went to Rushden & Higham United FC in Hayden Road, Rushden, with his family, but he lost his five-year battle to beat childhood cancer neuroblastoma on New Year’s Day.

It was while Karen Farrer, mum of Zac’s best friend Owen, was at the football ground that the idea of ripping the old stand down and replacing it with a new one was born.

Zac’s mum Sam Knighton said: “We just happened to be down there and Karen said we need to get this stand down.

“The stand is so old, it’s been up since 1922, it’s completely derelict.

“We are trying to get as much done ourselves before we have to start paying for things.

“Our friends have got involved and we put it out on Twitter and Facebook and we have had quite a lot of people come forward to help.

“We have got lots of fundraising events lined up.

“We are thinking about having a Rushden’s Got Talent event and hopefully we will be at Party In The Park, we’ve also got collection tins around the place.

“We are hoping to raise £25,000 and then hopefully the Football Association will match it so we can get the new stand up.”

Work has already started on ripping out the old wooden seating, but this is just the start of the project as once the stand is rebuilt, the volunteers like to upgrade other facilities at the ground, including the changing rooms. Sam thinks Zac, who was a big Manchester United fan, would have loved the idea.

She said: “Zac used to love going to the football club, we used to go up there on a Sunday. Because of that, they’ve decided to call it Zac’s Stand.

“Zac would love it, he would have been over the moon about it and would have been up there helping.”

And there is still time for people to get involved.

Sam said: “We want to try and get local tradesman, carpenters, floor laying people and plumbers to help us.

“We are appealing to professional people in Rushden who can offer some sort of help, and we are desperate for a surveyor to help us do it for as little as possible.”

Karen Farrer said: “Zac always loved it round the football ground so we just thought why don’t we do something, the ground needs a bit of TLC.

“It’s a community project, everyone knew Zac around here.”

If you would like to help, call Sam Knighton on 07534 621166 or Karen Farrer on 07787 348441.

For more details search on the Facebook page.