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Happy ending for Selsdon Little League kids after kit theft

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A CASH-STRAPPED football club which was raided by thieves has been given a new look after local businesses stepped in to replace their strips.

The Selsdon Little League, run for more than 400 children who cannot afford to be members of private clubs, was targeted in July when thieves caused £1,200 of damage.

The club had its generator, worth £500, equipment and strips stolen, forcing the managers to consider closing it.

Mik Simmons, the club's vice-president, said the league was now in a better position than they were before the raid, despite the council still charging a "fortune" for the children to use the pitches in Sanderstead.

"We have more sponsors now than we did before the incident which is great and enough to keep us going until the beginning of next year," he said.

"What we don't understand, as a club run by volunteers for kids who would not otherwise get to play sport, is why the council charge us up to £3,000 to use the pitches.

"Other little leagues around the country are recognised for their work and can use them for free."

Mathew Crawford-Thomas, who has two sons in the league, brought up the incident at his company, Columbus Direct, and decided to ask them for help.

He said: "I heard what had happened and just thought, 'You know what, the company isn't short of money, I'm sure they will help'. I asked our head of money and they said it was no problem and would pay for new strips to be made for the children."

The firm donated £500, while other donors included Dynamo Boxing, £720; Medipharm, £500; Sanderstead Residents' Association, £600; Dave & Co Builders, £400; and Liverpool Victoria insurance company, £230.

Sponsors have their names on the new kits and have pledged to keep supporting the club.

Club chairman Bob Clewley said: "We pride ourselves on our ethos of over 20 years of sport for every child.

"But the theft compromised our ability to deliver that to the full while we sorted out the mess these thieves left behind."

The chairman said the league had been devastated by the raid, when they realised they did not have enough money or insurance to recover the damages.

Mr Simmons added: "People have come forward who we would have never expected.

"They came and found us after hearing what happened. They've helped us get back on the roads so we're very thankful."

Anyone interested in joining or supporting the club can visit selsdonlittleleagues. leaguerepublic.com

Happy ending for Selsdon Little League kids after kit theft


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