THE COMMUNITY in Shipston has come together to clean up a vandalised football stand dedicated to the memory of a much-loved resident.
Steve Edwards passed away last year following a short battle with pancreatic cancer.
He was known to the community through his commitment to Shipston Sports and Social Club. The dad-of-two founded the junior section of the London Road sports club some 25 years ago inspired by his young sons.
And following his death last August, a memorial was held during the first game of the season and the stand was unveiled with a new sign in memory of the former manager and coach.
But on Sunday morning the stand was discovered covered in graffiti.
Club secretary Jennie Hopkins said: “We were absolutely devastated. Steve had a massive presence at the club and to know he had so much influence on the sport in Shipston. It’s heart breaking. It’s difficult not to take personally.
“People have been amazing and incredibly supportive. Everybody knew Steve. All the footballers knew Steve. Many knew him as the groundsman. He’d be out preparing the pitch hours before the game in his tractor.”
Community member Jordan Hale, who owns car cleaning company Veis Detailing, and who knew Steve, volunteered to clean up the stand free of charge.
He said: “This act of vandalism was the highest form of disrespect and is one of the most disgusting acts I’ve been witness to in our local community. I hope that the culprits are found and bought to justice.”
Many others came forward to offer equipment and the use of their facilities.
Jennie added: “The response on social media has been phenomenal. The community has really stepped forward. It’s been really touching. It just shows how much Steve meant to everybody. He put his heart and soul into the sports club. He was a big loss to the club.”