A FOOTBALL club remembered those who lost their lives on one of the game’s darkest days six decades ago, along with three men whose recent contributions to their beloved club will never be forgotten.

On February 6, 1958 the Munich air disaster claimed the lives of 23 people, including eight Manchester United players known as the Busby Babes.

To help the depleted squad fulfil its fixtures, Bishop Auckland Football Club loaned Manchester United three of its best players- England Amateur Internationals Derek Lewin, Bob Hardisty and Warren Bradley- and a lasting bond was formed.

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On Tuesday, the County Durham side was represented at a 60th anniversary memorial service at Old Trafford.

And on Saturday it was their turn to honour the dead when it unveiled a commemorative clock dedicated to the players, flight crew and journalists killed in the crash.

The clock, and four plaques on the main stand at the Bishops' Heritage Park stadium, also pay tribute to lifelong fan Colin Rowell, who left £300,000 to the club when he died in 2015, and late directors Shaun Stuart and Brian Watson.

Mr Stuart, who died in 2016, and Mr Watson, who died last year, had both been key figures on the new ground project team which saw the club move to Heritage Park in 2010 after leaving its old Kingsway ground in the town centre.

Pamela Cowey, a senior volunteer and match-day announcer, led the project.

She said: "We dedicate this clock in remembrance.

"Firstly to Colin Rowell. Colin Rowell was a lifelong Bishops supporter who loved him time on the terraces at Kingsway and here at Heritage Park.

"Colin bequest a magnificent sum to the club to help further develop this jewel of a non league ground.

"Because of Colin's bequest, which has allowed us to buy out the lease on the ground, we can proudly say that Heritage Park is our home.

"To the 23 players, flight crew and journalists who died following the Munich air disaster on the 6th of February, 1956 and to the three Bishop Auckland FC players, Bobby Hardisty, Derek Lewin and Warren Bradley, who were loaned to Manchester United Football Club in their hour of need to help their depleted first team squad fulfil their fixtures.

"To Shaun Stuart and Brian Watson, both directors of the club and both members of the team who worked tirelessly to turn the idea and hope for a new ground for a nomadic Bishop Auckland FC into the magnificent facility we now call home."

Andrew Lisgo, corporate media relations manager at Manchester United, said: “An important part of rebuilding Manchester United following the disaster was the players from Bishop Auckland who helped in the club’s moment of need.

“It is important to remember that and for me to be here on behalf of the club today."

BAFC director Terry Jackson said the club has always remembered the Munich disaster and been proud to have helped Manchester United but it had not previously recognised the connection formerly.

He said: "We wanted to put this right, the anniversary was an opportunity to start reflecting on some of the club's recent and longstanding history.

"Colin Rowell's bequest was quite unbelievable and the two guys we've honoured were instrumental in getting us to Heritage Park."

"Shaun was a very well-known businessman in the area and active in the voluntary sector, he was a lovely man and made a huge contribution to the club.

"Brian was an incredibly hardworking and helpful guy, he was very popular."

Players, officials and spectators then paid their respects with a minute's silence before the home game against Shildon.

The club thanked the Ebac Northern League, Shildon FC and referee Lindsey Robinson for allowing kick-off to be delayed so the silence could be held at 3.04pm, the exact time the plane crashed on the runway at Munich-Riem airport.