THEY are the Hampshire grandparents who have won an award for turning a “mudbowl” into some of the best football pitches in the county.
Steve and Gloria Curtis spend up to four days a week lovingly looking after the three pitches for Hamble United, cutting the grass, marking the lines and killing any weeds.
But the retired couple, who recently won an Hampshire FA Award for their work on the grounds, have been forced to stop after thieves stole their tools worth £5,000.
The club has been left feeling violated by the break-in at its Satchell Lane home and fears all the good work done by Steve and Gloria could be ruined because the club hasn’t got the funds to replace what has been stolen.
The biggest loss for the club is the ride-on lawn mower which the club was able to buy last year thanks to a £2,000 grant from the council.
This was vital because Gloria suffers with hip problems and cannot cut the grass without one.
Chairman of the club, Steve and Gloria’s son Gary, told the Daily Echo that the theft happened overnight on Tuesday.
Damage to the padlocked gates suggest the raiders initially tried to smash through the gates but when that failed they unhinged one of the gates to gain access.
They then forced open the shipping container with all the tools in for keeping the grounds up together.
Gary, who founded the club in 2005, doesn’t know how the club will replace what has been lost and is appealing for any donations.
He said: “We are the biggest football team in Hamble and everything we do is for the children but then somebody turns up like this with no regard for anyone else and just takes it all.
“Times are hard and it’s a struggle.
“We feel violated and this will affect us massively.
“For my parents, looking after the grounds is something they enjoy and this has taken away a massive part of their life because we cannot afford to replace it all.
“I just hope that there might be companies or people out there that might be able to donate equipment so that we can get back to work on the grounds.
If anyone can help the club, email Gary at email@example.com.