The family and friends of a mother who was murdered in her own home are organising a football fundraising event in her memory.
Nicola Cross, 37, known as Nikki, was stabbed to death by an intruder at her home in Dunlin Road, Hemel Hempstead on the evening of September 14 last year.
Now the community is pulling together to hold the Nikki Cross Memorial Cup and Family Fun Day in Hemel Hempstead on Sunday, May 15.
The aim is to raise as much money as possible for both Child Bereavement UK and Nikki’s Wishes, which are both helping to support Nikki’s husband Danny, 38, and their two young children aged six and four.
Brian Jackson, of Adeyfield, is one of the organisers and knows football-fan and player Danny from his time coaching and managing several local football league teams – including Hemel Hempstead FC.
The 69-year-old said: “Danny’s close friends suggested we have a football match for him, to help support him through the trauma and the tragic circumstances of losing his wife.
“There will be around 40 players there who have all played with Danny over the past 20 years, and we’re in talks with several ex-professional footballers to see if they will come along on the day too.
“Judging by the turnout at the funeral, we are expecting in excess of 1,000 people to be there.”
Nikki, who ran her own craft business called Spruced Tags, was laid to rest in a service at Garston Crematorium on November 6, where more than 400 people turned out to say goodbye.
At the time of her death, IT specialist Danny paid tribute to his wife, saying: “Nikki was the most beautiful person inside and out. She was the perfect wife and the most amazing mummy.”
Hemel MP Mike Penning has been invited to attend the day as a guest of honour, and will be presenting trophies following on from the match.
Mr Penning said: “I’m not attending as a politician, but as a member of the community.
“I’m a father and a husband too, and what happened has shaken the community.
“No-one can replace Nikki, but we can show we care.
“This is about being here for Danny, because he’s still got to move forward and bring those two children up.
“We are a great community and I know we will pull together.”
The memorial match will be held at the Hemel Hempstead FC ground on Vauxhall Road, Hemel Hempstead, between 11am and 6pm.
There will be plenty to do for the whole family, including free rides for the children along with bouncy castles, face painting and disco dancing.
Later in the afternoon there will be an auction of football memorabilia as well as a raffle.
People will be able to browse craft and cake stalls and there will be plenty of food and drink stalls available too.
Tickets will cost £5 for adults and £2.50 for children.
For more, search ‘Nikki Cross Memorial Cup & Family Fun Day’ on Facebook.