THE son of a life-long York City fan whose ashes were interred at Bootham Crescent has spoken of his delight that his dad’s remains have been found.

The ashes of City fan John Wood were discovered late on the second day of a dig at the football club’s former ground last week.

John’s son Paul actually took part in the dig as a volunteer on Monday, the first day of the dig, but had to go back to work as a call-out engineer on Tuesday.

He and his brother Jim knew their dad’s ashes were buried in a casket on the touchline near the Popular Stand - but couldn’t agree exactly where.

Paul, who lives in Acomb with his wife and two children, admitted that he actually felt a bit guilty on Monday when he kept urging the team of volunteers, led by archaeologist Jason Wood (no relation) to ‘try a bit further’. “It was taking up a lot of their time!” he said.

He almost gave up hope when nothing was found on the Monday. Then he got a call late on Tuesday from Jason Wood. “He said ‘you’re not going to believe this!’” Paul said.

His dad’s ashes had been found further along the touchline, near the centre circle, late in the day on Tuesday - the last day of the dig. “I could have collapsed!” Paul said “It was such a shock!”


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Paul said his dad had been a City fan since 1964 - and had regularly gone to watch his team play until he became ill with cancer in the mid 1990s. Paul had been going with him since he himself was a lad, and towards the end of his dad’s life, when he was too ill to stand, they had season tickets for seats in the Popular Stand.

So it seemed natural to have his dad’s ashes interred on the touchline there when he died of cancer aged just 52 in 1998. “The club was such a big part of his life. But we never thought his ashes would have to be moved!”

The club has been ‘absolutely brilliant’ in their determination not to give up on the search for fans ashes, Paul added.

Once Bootham Crescent has been redeveloped, his dad’s ashes will be reinterred in a special memorial ground that is to be set up near the site of the Popular Stand.

“Hopefully there will be some kind of a ceremony,” Paul said. “That will be nice. And the memorial ground will be somewhere to go.”

And what would his Dad have made of his team’s current struggles, mired deep in the middle of the National League North? “He would still be going - and still moaning like hell!” Paul said. “But he would never have stopped going!”

Last week’s dig was the second of two digs organised by the club and led by Jason Wood to search for the ashes of fans interred at Bootham Crescent.

In total, the two digs have now found the remain of 11 fans.