A CHARITY football tournament established more than a century ago has raised £1,000 for a little boy with a rare genetic disorder.

When the team behind the Darlington Charity Cup heard about the challenges Alfie McBride, from Bowburn, near Durham, and his family face they were determined to help. The six-year-old suffers from a chromosome variation called 16p13.11 microduplication, which has resulted in learning difficulties, sensory issues and an inability to talk.

At school, the youngster benefits from sensory equipment, including hydrotherapy and fibre optic lights, but his family has struggled to afford or access funding to offer these therapies at home.

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Alfie’s mother, Joanne Bugg launched a fundraising appeal to help create a sensory room. She was thrilled when the Darlington Charity Cup team offered to help.

“I was overwhelmed,” she said. “It feels as though I have had to fight for everything Alfie needs so to have someone contact me and offer to help means so much. Alfie’s condition is very rare so I don’t know exactly how it will affect him in the future. His behaviour can be challenging but we find he responds well to sensory equipment at school. This money will allow us to create a calming environment at home.”

The Darlington Charity Cup is an annual football tournament involving teams across Darlington and south west Durham. It was established in 1907 and, since 2010, the new committee, including Roger Bradley, Phil Haynes, Kev Scruton, Brian Scaife, Ben Smith and Lisa Jones, has focused on helping children with chronic and life-limiting illnesses.

Along with money raised through the football tournament, which got underway this month, thousands of pounds is raised each September at a golf day at Woodham Golf Club in Newton Aycliffe. On March 2, a Question of Sport style fundraiser will be held at the same venue.

Children who have previously benefited from the fund include Jorge Martin, a little boy with cerebral palsy and epilepsy; Freya Aither, from Newton Aycliffe, who was diagnosed with a brain tumour in May 2016; and six-year-old Mason Campion, from Bishop Auckland, who died from an inoperable brain tumour last summer.