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Tributes have continued to pour in for former AFC Portchester chairman and life president Steve Woods.

Since news of his death was announced, tens of thousands of people have taken to social media to read the news and hundreds have left comments paying their respects to the man who was popular both at the football club and in the wider community.

The gates have also been opened every day at the Crest Finance Stadium to allow people to lay their tributes in the ground’s main stand.

And so far over 50 tributes have been left by people keen to remember ‘Woodsy’.

Vice chairman Graeme Moir said: “Steve Woods was a very popular figure in the football and Portchester communities and the reaction to his passing has more than confirmed that.

“Despite heavy downpours and then temperatures below freezing, the weather hasn’t deterred people from heading to the stadium and leaving their floral and other tributes.

“The numbers of tributes grow every day and it is a truly moving sight to see the main stand and read the messages people have left in tribute to Steve.”

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Colleagues of Steve at the football club have been posting their tributes on social media to a man who played an important part in their lives.

Lily Kattenhorn said: “You always supported me and offered me help. You’d always have a way of making someone see things on the positive side and just cheer you up. 

“I’m just so sad Woods because you literally were amazing and so thoughtful, everyone loved you so much. I’ll miss you forever and will never forget the memories made.

“Thoughts are with Carole and the boys at this sad time. AFC Portchester will have a massive gap in it now.”

Caileigh Earwicker said: “Heaven has gained an angel. Truly heartbroken. You have done so much for us, such a kind and gentle soul.

“I’m going to miss us winding each other up - you always made me laugh. There’s a massive hole in AFC and it won’t be the same without you! You’ll always be in our hearts. Sending love to all the family and friends.”

The current players and coaching staff at the club have also paid tribute to Steve, and they were one of the first groups of people to lay a floral tribute at the Crest Finance Stadium.

Joe Noakes said: “Sad to hear that Steve Woods has passed away - one of the men who has made AFC Portchester what it is today. RIP Steve - sending my love to the family.”

Mark Dugan commented: “AFC Portchester have lost a great man, who without him the club might not have been where they are today. RIP Woodsy, my friend. My thoughts are with you and all of the family at this time.”

Craig Hardy added: “A great bloke! A great sense of humour and a massive part of the club we all love. You will be missed Steve - going to be strange with you not around. 

“Steve’s huge impact on the Portchester community during his lifetime has been shown through the messages people have been writing online.”

Plenty of people knew Steve from his work at the football club and in the Portchester community, and how highly regarded he was is reflected in the comments made online.

Geoff Fieldsend said: “Sad news, dedicated his life to Portchester and my girls spent many hours at AFC during school holidays at the various events and clubs he organised. Sad loss to Portchester but his legacy remains in many of our young and the not so young amongst us. Thanks Steve.”

Emily Jupp said: “Such sad news, my thoughts are with the family. Steve was so generous with his time, always helping us and the children in the community. He'll be sorely missed but always remembered as a one in a million.”

Bev Hollis said: “One of the nicest people I’ve ever met. RIP Steve and thank you for everything you did for us. Deepest sympathies to Carole and the boys.”

Matt Cronk commented: “RIP Woodsy, a real Portchester legend and pillar of the local community. Will be sadly missed by many. Sending positive prayers to his nearest and dearest.”

Karen Hunt said: “Such sad news...he really was the dad of AFC Portchester - he was devoted to that club! I have fond memories of Steve and he made a great Santa for the boys at our Xmas parties! Condolences to all the family. You will certainly be very missed.”

Steve Clark said: “Portchester has lost one of its finest. Our thoughts are with the family.”

Brandon Jupp added: “RIP Woodsy. Taught me and loads of other kids at AFCP the ways of football. A true inspiration to lots of us.”

Kirsten Wiltshire said: “Such sad news, he was such a community spirited man. A great loss to Portchester for sure.”

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Christine Murphy said: “So sorry to hear this very sad news. Steve worked so hard for AFC Portchester and the Portchester community as a whole. My thoughts are with Carole, the boys and their families. He will be greatly missed but he leaves a lasting legacy.”

Jennifer Greene added: “Such sad news. A lovely character, so generous with his time and fabulous with the kids, a gentle giant. Thinking of his family at this difficult time.” 

Martina Heath said: “Such a lovely man and fond memories of working with him around the replacement of the changing rooms at Wicor, girls and disability football which he was really supportive of. A true loss to all, thoughts to all the family.”

Jon Adams commented: “I started out in youth football management at the same time as Steve back around 1991 at Castle Royals. His commitment was incredible all the way through to the creation of AFC Portchester. A lovely man. My thoughts are with all of his family.”

Joanne Harvey retold the story of how Steve helped with a party she was organising at the club. “Steve was and will always be forever remembered as a decent, well liked man of the community. He let me organise a surprise 40th for my husband at AFC - he couldn’t do enough for me! 

“Stored my huge bouncy castle for me in advance so the hubby didn’t suspect a thing. I and a few friends and family dressed AFC from top to bottom in an 80s theme and he loved it. He was meant to go home and come back later but enjoyed the night that much he stayed and mingled in. 

“Even took some drunk guests home in Portchester so they didn’t walk on their own down the road, then came back for the drunk husband as we live in the same street. He knew the short walk would take forever with an intoxicated man in tow and wouldn’t take no for an answer! Nothing was ever a problem to Steve. Such a huge loss. Sending love to the family.”

Judith Kirby commented: “Our whole family is saddened and shocked by this news and our prayers and thoughts are with all his family. Steve contributed so much to the community and we will always be grateful for the time and energy he spent encouraging football skills in the local youngsters.”

Julie Elston Sexton said: “So shocked and sad to hear this devastating news. Steve was an absolute diamond! He has done so much for so many people in Portchester, in so many ways. 

“We, as a family, have so many happy memories of him arranging and celebrating with us on many family parties at AFC as well as some amazing event nights. Loved his Neil Diamond impressions. 

“He has always put so much time, effort and enthusiasm into so much charity work in Portchester. In fact, it was a phone call from him that was the beginning of the Portchester Food Pantry.

“Thank you Steve 'Woodsy' Woods. Your memory lives on. Thinking of his lovely family and sending them our love.”

     

AFC Portchester
The Crest Finance Stadium
Wicor Recreation Ground
Cranleigh Road
Fareham
Hants
PO16 9DP
U.K.

+44 (0) 1329 233833