Sheffield Wednesday: Fans reach target to help former Owls star

Derek Wilkinson'Sheffield Wednesday FC 1961
Derek Wilkinson'Sheffield Wednesday FC 1961
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Generous Sheffield Wednesday fans have reached their fundraising effort to help former Owls star Derek Wilkinson, after the pensioner’s Manchester home was wrecked by vicious winds.

Derek, aged 79, is staying temporarily in a bed and breakfast after 73mph winds damaged his home in Beech Grove, Ashton-under-Lyne - where he has lived for almost 50 years.

Derek’s bedroom window was blown out, and the brickwork fell on his car - leaving it a write-off.

Close friend James Ireland set up a JustGiving yesterday to help the former Owls hero, aiming to raise £3,000 in 30 days.

But within a matter of hours, kind-hearted fans had already reached their target - with United fans chipping in, too.

Derek, who played 233 times for the Owls, wrote his name into Wednesday folklore with 58 goals - including two against city rivals Sheffield United in an FA quarter-final.

The damage is now being assessed by Manchester Council officials, and Derek said: “I’m devastated.

“I don’t even remember how I got outside, I’m still in complete shock.

“I was in my back room at about 5pm and I heard a massive, almighty crash, I’d just had new windows fitted earlier that day and I’m just waiting to find out if that’s what caused it.”

Wednesday forums including Owlstalk, Owlsonline and Owlsmad had all encouraged members to donate.

Fans celebrated the success of the appeal.

On Twitter Walkers1867 said: “Social media offers many disappointing aspects but sometimes it can make you smile like the power to help out Derek Wilkinson well done all.”

Laura Jones said: “Brilliant news. Such a good story when fans pull together. #WAWAW”

David Turner said: “Vast majority of #swfc fans show that we have traditional community values #proud UTO WAWAW”

And Laura Renshaw commented: “Very proud to be a Wednesdayite, amazing effort today @Owlstalk #WAWAW”

Donations are still being taken. Visit https://www.justgiving.com/yimby/dw to make a contribution.