DOZENS of children admitted to hospital this weekend will not miss out on Easter treats thanks to a football squad and generous fans.

Players and backroom staff from Darlington Football Club visited the children's ward at Darlington Memorial Hospital to announce an invaluable relationship between the two organisations.

More than £200 and 85 Easter eggs have been donated by Darlington fans happy to support their club's choice to make the County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust's Charity their Charity of the Year.

Among those benefitting from the partnership is 11-year-old Luke Robson – a young Quakers fan over the moon to meet his heroes in hospital.

Luke underwent surgery earlier this week to remove his appendix. His recovery has been so rapid that Luke and his father, Craig, will be given the full match day experience for the club's home game against Bradford Park Avenue AFC today.

This time, the 11-year-old has promised to wear his Darlington shirt rather than his Juventus strip.

Speaking of the new link, Craig Morley, commercial director at Darlington FC, said: "Picking a local charity to support is always a difficult choice but many of our supporters and their families receive care at Darlington Memorial Hospital and from the Trust’s community teams so this year it was an easy decision.

"We see so many synergies between health and the benefits that come from playing sport at all levels and ages.

"We’ve already had our first home match bucket collection, which raised £227 and we’re planning more of these throughout the year.

"The club has also donated a signed player shirt which the Charity can use to raise funds. Generous fans have also donated 85 Easter eggs for the children who might be in hospital over the Easter period which our players wanted to deliver themselves in order to meet some of the children and their families.”

Pat Chambers, charity development manager at the NHS Trust, said: “Darlington Memorial Hospital and Darlington Football Club are both very important locally.

"We‘re overjoyed to have been selected as the club’s charity of choice and hope that the next year is only the start of a long and productive relationship with this historic and vibrant local club that has inspired so many generations of supporters.

"The very clear messages the club sends out about health, wellbeing and being active, particularly to young players is extremely encouraging and I would hope that together we will each do our part to help build healthier communities.

“Individual, businesses and organisations fundraising on our behalf, or making a donation, can specify what they would like their money to support, whether it’s a particular ward or service, or a campaign we’re running.

"Anyone wanting to find out more can email us at or ring 01325 743781.”