FOREIGN Secretary William Hague met with a group of Darlington badminton players as they prepared to head off on a European tour.

Members of Hummersknott Badminton Club are playing a series of matches in France and Germany this month, including one in Darlington’s twin town of Mulheim.

The aim of the trip is to promote junior friendship through sport.

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Following exams, a group of older students will travel across Italy and onto Athens, playing various matches and taking in educational sights.

Members of the club met with Mr Hague during a recent visit to the region.

He sent his best wishes for the trips and added: “It was good to hear about the positive effect this is having on both participants and their hosts.”