All stitched up

West Ham United stepped out in style for the npower Championship Play-Off final thanks to the handiwork of Sandra Watts.

Watts, who runs Basildon-based Edgewood Embroidery with husband Sean, was asked to embellish the Hammers' shirts for their big Wembley date with Blackpool in May.

For the 45-year-old, seeing the players run out in their special claret and blue shirts was not only a source of pride, but presented an opportunity to raise awareness and funds for a charity that is very close to her heart.

The South Essex Rape and Incest Crisis Centre (SERICC) supported Watts after she reported and successfully prosecuted the person who abused her as a child.

To thank SERICC for their help, she not only auctioned off an embroidered West Ham shirt signed by the Play-Off-winning squad, but she was successfully nominated to run the London 2012 Olympic Torch Relay.

"I was a West Ham fan as a child," said Watts, who visited Chadwell Heath with her husband to meet the squad during the international break. "I shared a bedroom with three of my brothers and sisters and we had it painted claret and blue and I can remember that we held a street party when the Hammers won the FA Cup in 1975.

"We were initially contacted about embroidering shirts for the Tony Carr Testimonial and were delighted to provide them for that match.

"The club's kit manager Peter Williams then got in touch with us ahead of the Play-Off final and we were delighted to be able to play our part in such a big day for the club.

"We were away on a training weekend, so we didn't actually get to Wembley ourselves, but we watched the match in the clubhouse and told everyone we could about our embroidery being on the shirts!"

Kevin Nolan

Kevin Nolan in his special npower Championship Play-Off final shirt

Around 70 shirts were produced for the final - two for each player on matchday and a number of commemorative items for the backroom staff - including one which was signed by the squad and auctioned by Watts, raising £700 for SERICC.

Watts' fundraising did not end there as she was successfully nominated by the charity to take part in the Olympic Torch Relay.

A veteran of six marathons, Watts ran 300 metres along Chalkwell Park in Southend, where she was cheered on by thousands of well-wishers and staff from the south Essex-based charity.

"It was an unbelievable experience. It was like being a film star! People kept coming up and asking for a photograph with me and with the torch and it was so nice to be able to share my moment with them.

"Since the relay I have been to visit SERICC and a lot of schools and nursing homes with the torch and was also invited to a supermarket with Paralympic discus and shot put star Jonathan Adams. So far we've managed to raise £3,000 for the charity."

West Ham kit manager Pete Williams paid tribute to Watts' hard work in both producing the club's Wembley shirts and raising funds for such a worthy cause.

"I think what Sandra has done is fantastic," he said. "When I asked her to produce the shirts for the final, nothing was too much trouble and she and Sean did a superb job. I thought the lads looked brilliant at Wembley and it made the day even more special!

"The cause she is raising money for is a great one and I have great admiration for her hard work and commitment to fundraising for SERICC."