The dad-of-nine’s grave is now marked by a sprawling monument featuring two life-sized statues of the family patriarch’s six-foot-two frame, and is crafted from solid Carrara marble from Italy.
Now, the modern day mausoleum in Sheffield has made headlines across the world, with ‘Big Willy’s’ name being heard from France to Costa Rica.
After news of the unveiling broke the story on Thursday, March 17, photos of the new Sheffield landmark have been shared internationally by US Time Today, NBC, Yahoo! and MSN.
Not only that, the story has been translated into Polish, French, Spanish and Turkish.
Snaps of Shiregreen Cemetery have appeared on Polish news site Olxpraca, Costa Rica’s Zona De Prensa, Turkey’s ABC Gundem, and France’s News24.
The reports all share how the headstone could be the largest in the UK, with details of who Willy Collins was to the Traveller community.
Other features of the headstone include its four flagpoles and solar-powered jukebox playing the patriarch’s favourite tracks – which mourners can also connect to through Bluetooth and play their own songs.
The headstone is lit up in LED lights that change colour and is under 24-hour CCTV monitoring, which his family can also access on their phones and use to ‘speak’ to him.
Willy’s eldest daughter, Mary Collins, 30, said: “He was the best dad in the whole world.”