West Ham fans can be reunited with Boleyn Ground commemorative bricks in Collier Row
- Credit: Jonjo Heuerman
To West Ham supporters’ dismay, The Boleyn Ground was knocked down three years ago and with it, many memories of cheering on their favourite team.
But the demolition also meant the destruction of the Walls of Fame made up of thousands of fans' commemorative bricks.
However, if you assumed your brick was destroyed, you could be in for a surprise - around 1,000 of bricks were saved.
Thanks to 17-year-old Jonjo Heuerman and his team of volunteers, a collection day is going to be held at The Collier Row Catholic Club, Lowshoe Lane, Collier Row, from 11am-5pm on July 6 in a bid to help reunite them with their rightful owners.
West Ham United helped Jonjo with his campaign by writing to the original purchasers, making them aware of Jonjo's work and the fact the bricks are available for collection.
Jonjo said: "The bricks are very special to many of the fans for a number of reasons but mainly the memories they have if the old Boleyn Stadium, and the personal inscriptions that are often in memory of someone or in celebration.
"I have been a West Ham United fan and season ticket holder since I was two-years-old.
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"West Ham fans are very passionate about their team and the memories of the Boleyn Ground so I know what these bricks mean to the fans.
"I also found a brick in the salvage process that belonged to my cousin Dean who passed away - that meant a lot to me."
Jonjo, from Kent, has been fundraising for The Bobby Moore Fund since his nan died of cancer in 2009 and is the youngest ever to receive a British Empire Medal for his charity efforts when he was 13.
When the Boleyn Ground was about to be demolished, Jonjo asked the demolition company for some of the seats from the stadium so they could be auctioned for the charity.
But when it came to tearing down the Walls of Fame, the site manager couldn't bring himself to do it so asked Jonjo if they saved some of the bricks, could he find the original owners.
Determined to do so, Jonjo and a team of Bobby Moore Fund volunteers, have been working hard to get the message out there and after several collection days, now have around 500 bricks left.
As part of the plans that were announced when relocating to the new Stadium, West Ham United has placed the inscriptions that were on each brick onto new stones at Champions Place at the London Stadium as there were originally no guarantees from the developers that all of the original bricks would be removed in one piece.
He said: "Everyone involved in volunteering for the Boleyn Brick Project and the charity are West Ham fans and cherish the bricks as much as the original owners do.
"I'm really grateful to the team for their help.
"I feel incredibly proud to be able to return the bricks to the fans. It's an honour.
"We have had grown men cry when they have received theirs or their families' bricks.
"A lot of the fans get very emotional and we are trying to collate their stories so we can write a book about the Boleyn Bricks for the charity."
The first brick that the team returned was that of an eight-year-old boy called Jake Russell.
Before the walls were built, Jake had visited the training ground and was delighted to get some of the players' autographs.
When he returned home, he asked if he could go and show his friends but on his way, he was killed in a hit and run.
Jonjo says his grandmother, who went to collect Jake's commemorative brick which his family got in his memory, was "very emotional and pleased" when it was returned.
He said: "Brick collection days are amazing and there are so many stories and emotions."
No one is charged for their bricks but fans are asked if they would like to donate to the charity and so far, more than £5,500 has been raised for the cause.
The bricks are being held in storage and will be transported to the collection point on the day.
Volunteers ask that residents get in touch prior to the day, otherwise they will not bring it to the club for collection.
To get in touch, email firstname.lastname@example.org