A pair of 73-year-old twins volunteering at Sittingbourne FC are providing the energy for a push up the football pyramid. 

Short of lacing up and taking to the field, Peter and John Pitts have done pretty much everything in their time with The Brickies. 

For almost a quarter of a century, the brothers have played a crucial part in the Kent club’s history. 

When the Isthmian League Division One South East side appeared to be sleepwalking out of existence in 1999, Peter stepped in as press officer while John acted as club secretary. 

“I foolishly, and I really do mean that word, said yes" joked John.

“I assumed I’d be doing it for a few weeks. Well, that few weeks has turned into 22 years.”

After being evicted from their stadium at the time, the duo were among a group of volunteers who pitched in to make a new ground their home. 

From weeding to painting to even sorting out the electrics - thanks to their professional background as telecoms engineers - the brothers have done it all.

Waste paper bins were sourced from the old Millennium Dome as well as seating from wherever they could find it, alongside a turnstile gifted by nearby Football League club Gillingham.

“We did well by begging and borrowing,” John said. 

“Did they know about it? Not everyone knew what we took, did they?"

South Wales Guardian: (L-R) Jim Pledger, Roger Pudner, Danny Appleton, Peter Pitts, John Pitts(L-R) Jim Pledger, Roger Pudner, Danny Appleton, Peter Pitts, John Pitts

Volunteers are vital to non-league clubs across the country, and it is now easier than ever to get invovled thanks to Pitching In's Volunteer Hub as part of their multi-million pound investment in grassroots football.

Money is often tight at English football's lower echelons, and Sittingbourne's plight is an unfortunate situation many non-league clubs find themselves in but thanks - in large part - to the pair’s dedication, brighter days are on the horizon. 

Last season’s mid-table finish, though welcomed by fans, was seen as disappointing by club hierarchy. 

Added investment generated by the next generation of volunteers has raised expectations in the South East and John, now finance director, is eager to take advantage of their cherished position. 

“We have two youngsters we’ve managed to bring on board and they really are the future of the club,” John said. 

“They’ve brought in sponsorship we’ve never seen in the time Peter, and I have been in.

“We won’t any longer put up with 10th or 11th. We must finish in play-off positions”

The focus on football is the clearest indication of how far Sittingbourne have come, with the club now boasting 20 youth teams, three women’s sides and plans for 4G pitches thanks to the work of the septuagenarians and a host of other volunteers.

John added, “We’re not your average 70 odd-year-olds,"

Ladbrokes, with the support of its owner Entain, has launched a multi-million-pound investment programme, Pitching In, designed to support and promote grassroots sports. For more details see: https://entaingroup.com/sustainability/pitching-in/