A HAMPSHIRE widow with precious memories of her 25-year marriage is searching for a football trophy named after her late husband.

Tony French and his wife Doreen were heavily involved in the former Dibden Metros Youth Football Club, which was based at Shore Road, Hythe.

Tony, a supervisor on one of the jetties at Fawley refinery, was only 50 when he died of lung cancer in 1990.

Esso sponsored a memorial cup which was competed for annually at local derbies involving Dibden Metros and at least one other team in the New Forest area, the Lymington Sprites.

Doreen's involvement with the club continued until she moved to Gosport in the mid-1990s.

"I was known as Granny Metro," she said. "I used to stand on the sidelines during the games and shout 'Come on my lovelies'."

Now Doreen is hoping to track down the trophy which bears Tony's name and resurrect the annual derbies, with proceeds going to cancer research.

She said: "Finding it again after all these years would be like getting my husband back."

Tony and Doreen moved to Hythe in the 1970s and rented a house in Frost Lane but later lived at nearby Buttsbridge Road before settling in Marchwood.

Tony had a long association with Dibden Metros, serving as a manager and eventually becoming chairman.

Doreen, 75, said: "Tony was a quiet man who was very liked. He became a referee and was absolutely excellent because he was so unbiased."

Despite being given a course of chemotherapy Tony died just seven months after his illness was diagnosed.

Doreen said: "He was involved with football right up until the end. He was only 50 when he went and I feel quite cheated."

Asked about the trophy she added: "No-one seems to know anything about it.

"It's been missing for several years and it would give me peace of mind to know where it is, but it seems to have been mislaid.

"Someone probably popped it in a cupboard but people move around. It could be anywhere."

Anyone with information can call Doreen on 07961 672713.