FOOTBALL-LOVING schoolchildren in the North-East will see good behaviour rewarded with the chance to see their local team play thanks to a charitable foundation.

Darlington Football Club Foundation has donated 58 season tickets to schools in the Darlington area in a bid to help young fans engage with their local side.

Darlington FC mascot, Mr Q, and Foundation Manager Barry Thompson have visited 29 schools to represent children with free tickets, including Skerne Park Academy, in Darlington.

Mr Q led Skerne Park Academy students in football-themed challenges to win the tickets for their school, including answering trivia questions about the team and balancing a football on their heads.

Barry said: “I started supporting Darlington when I was ten and someone from the club came into my school. It made me want to go to a game and, straight away, I was hooked on the atmosphere, on that feeling of being part of a community – it’s entirely different to watching football on TV.

“Mr Q and I are here today giving away tickets so that every child has that same opportunity to come along to a game and be part of that, especially for kids who maybe can’t afford it or don’t think of football as their first interest.”

The Northern Echo: Mr Q and Barry challenged the students' skills and football knowledge to win the tickets for their schoolMr Q and Barry challenged the students' skills and football knowledge to win the tickets for their school (Image: Chris Barron)

Skerne Park students will get the chance to use the school’s season tickets by exhibiting good behaviour in class, and by maintaining good attendance and punctuality. Children who do so will have their names entered into a draw before each Darlington FC home game to decide the lucky winner.

Skerne Park Academy head teacher, Clair Gooding, said: “We're always keen at Skerne Park to invite visitors from our local community into our school so that children know what's on offer for them out there.

“We hope that the chance to see Darlington FC play will help boost learning and attendance, help our children learn more about football, and discover more of what's available in their community.”