THE LONG forgotten grave of Blackburn Rovers' founder John Lewis has been restored to its former glory.

After launching a search for his decendants, the club have completely renovated his grave and pledged to maintain it.

John Lewis, a coachbuilder and promoter of the Temperance Movement, launched the club in 1875.

His long-forgotten grave was discovered in Blackburn Municipal Cemetery by a writer who was researching the founders of church football clubs.

Rovers' chairman John Williams said he was keen for the club to mark the grave in a fitting tribute to Mr Lewis.

He said: "It was totally overgrown and as soon as we became aware of this, we were keen to get involved. The man is such a big part of our history and it's important for clubs to keep track of their roots. Having put out a search and contacted the family, they are delighted with the result. We will also make sure it's maintained."

It is twelve months since author Peter Lupson approached the club after finding the grave while researching his book Thank God for Football'. In that time they have traced two fourth-generation descendants of Mr Lewis.

Mr Lupson said: "When I came across the grave, I was so upset I arranged for it to be cleared myself.

"However it was overgrown again the next time I came.

"When I first went to the club and spoke with John I knew they would take care of it long-term.

"He was so enthusiastic he began making calls immediately, which was a sign he genuinely cared."