'˜Overwhelming' support for Nikki's special day

Organisers of the Nikki Cross Memorial Cup and Fun Day have thanked the community for their love after more than 1,000 tickets were snapped up in just TWO days.

Thursday, 7th April 2016, 5:00 am
Nicola Cross, of Hemel Hempstead, who was murdered in her own home on September 14, 2015

The committee are predicting a sell out for the football fundraiser at Hemel Hempstead Football Club on Sunday, May 15.

It has been organised by the family and friends of 37-year-old Nicola Cross, who was stabbed to death by an intruder in her home in Dunlin Road on September 14 last year.

Now Nikki’s family and friends have pulled together to support her husband Daniel and their two young children and they say the speed of ticket sales has ‘suprised them all’.

Mathew Griffin, one of the event organisers, said: “The demand and speed of ticket sales is quite simply a reflection of the love for Nikki, husband Daniel, and their two children.

“We were all very deeply saddened by the unexpected and shocking event in September and the entire community wants to make sure that the family knows that they have our full support at this difficult time.”

Mr Griffin, from Gadebridge, added: “We knew there would be serious demand for this special day and the speed at which tickets started selling surprised us all. Fortunately, we were prepared and a fantastic team of distributors have worked wonders responding to every ticket request from within the town and beyond.”

The football club’s capacity is 3,000 and organisers say there is a very strong chance the event will sell out.

A seven-strong committee have meticulously planned the day, which is raising cash for two worthy causes – Nikki’s Wishes, which is supporting Daniel and the children, and Child Bereavement UK.

Supporting the team, and continuing Nikki’s legacy of handmade craft products with her company Spruced Tags, has been a team of close friends who have made hundreds of gifts to sell on May 15.

Brian Jackson, a committee member from Adeyfield, said: “We have been overwhelmed by the level of support we are receiving both locally and nationally.

“Schools, and in particular South Hill, Kings Langley and Nash Mills, are promoting the day through newsletters, posters and ticket sales.

“Local businesses and individuals have donated fantastic raffle prizes whilst numerous premiership clubs and individual players have contributed to both the raffle and auction.”

Last Saturday (April 2), a market stall was held in Berkhamsted High Street, where tickets and craft products were sold and raffle prizes were won.

The auction for autographed memorabilia proved to be very popular and lucky bidders walked away with some fantastic items, including a Usain Bolt framed photograph, Barcelona Football Club pennant, Chris Robshaw England rugby shirt and a Harry Kane football boot.

The next market stall will take place on Saturday, April 16 in Hemel Hempstead town centre.

Once again, tickets can be bought and there will also be a raffle alongside an auction for more autographed memorabilia which can be taken away on the day.

The day, which kicks off at 12.30pm, originally involved Daniel’s friends but has been broadened to include local ex-professional footballers and brothers, Tommy and Jack Smith, who were born and raised in the town.

Mr Griffin said: “We are delighted to have Tom on board, especially given his local status as a role model who played professionally for Watford, Sunderland, Derby County, Portsmouth, QPR, Cardiff City and Brentford.

“When we made contact with Tom his response was “I would love to play and it would be a pleasure to help out.”

“This gave everyone involved a huge lift in morale and we are extremely grateful to Tom for his commitment to what promises to be a great day for a cause close to so many hearts.”

Completing the pair of former Watford players signed up is Tom’s younger brother Jack, who played professionally for Watford, Millwall and Swindon Town.

The committee are still hoping to add to the ex-professionals that will be playing and say they have a number of ‘irons in the fire’.

Mr Griffin said: “The Nikki Cross Memorial Cup and Family Fun Day has come a long way from the original idea, discussed by a few friends, to hold a ‘kick about’ to raise funds in Nikki’s name.”

Organisers say the response from players has been commendable, with each paying to play and bid for their shirt numbers, with all proceeds going into the fund.

Tickets can be bought via the Nikki Cross Memorial Cup and Family Fun Day page on Facebook here, by emailing [email protected] or from the stall in Hemel on April 16.