MATCH sponsors of Darlington's first game of the season have donated their places in hospitality to key workers to say thank you for their work.

The group of exiled fans known as Darlington Away Far Travelling Supporters (DAFTS), are sponsoring Quakers’ first game of the season at Blackwell Meadows against AFC Telford United on Saturday.

To show appreciation for their efforts over the past 18 months, they are paying for a collection of NHS, care workers, fire, police and ambulance services personnel to attend the match.

Tony Waters of DAFTS said: “The football club approached DAFTS to ask if we would be interested in sponsoring either of the first two matches of the season.

"As we are an exiles group with people living throughout UK, Europe and Scandinavia we knew it was too short notice to allow us all to travel to the match but we were keen to support the needs of the club.

“A couple of us had a chat and noted that some other sports clubs had given tickets and free admission to key workers as a thank you. We decided that we would like to do something similar.

"As a result we have arranged for eight of those hospitality tickets to be gifted to key workers from the NHS and a local care company to thank them for their efforts during the course of the pandemic.

“As a group, DAFTS truly appreciate the pressures key workers have been under during the last couple of years and wanted to say thank you in our very small way."

“We’ve seen a number of sports clubs say thank you to key workers recently and wanted something similar to be done by DFC. As fans we have done this by inviting some of those key workers to enjoy the match and hospitality DFC has to offer.”

Keep up to date with all the latest news on our website, or follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

You can also follow our dedicated Darlington Facebook page for all the latest in the area by clicking here.

For all the top news updates from right across the region straight to your inbox, sign up to our newsletter here.

Have you got a story for us? Contact our newsdesk on or contact 01325 505054