A HAMPSHIRE widow is set to be reunited with a precious trophy - thanks to the Daily Echo.

The memorial cup is named after Tony French, who ran the Dibden Metros Youth Football Club in the late 1980s.

His widow Doreen used to present the cup - but lost track of its whereabouts after the club folded.

Now the 75-year-old is looking forward to seeing it again after telling the Echo that finding the trophy "would be like getting my husband back".

An article about her search was seen by members of Hythe and Dibden FC, which has been looking after the cup.

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

Sponsored by Esso, the memorial trophy was competed for at local derbies involving Dibden Metros and at least one other team in the New Forest area, the Lymington Sprites.

As reported in the Echo, Doreen decided to track down the cup with a view to resurrecting the annual fixture

The article was brought to the attention of Dave Cox, president of Hythe and Dibden FC, who rang to let her know the club had the trophy.

He said: "When the Dibden Metros folded their U16 side became our youth side, which is when the trophy came over to us. It's a bit dirty and needs a good clean but it's all there."

Now Doreen is looking forward to travelling from her home in Gosport to Hythe to collect the cup which bears her husband's name.

She said: "My neighbours knew about my search and after I got the call from Dave I went round the building telling everyone I met.

"I was so elated - it's a new beginning. I can't thank the Echo enough."

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.

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

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