ONE of the world's most famous footballing trophies took pride of place in a Chester-le-Street school last week.

The nation's most talented footballers have sweat blood and tears for the chance to hold the FA cup - but pupils at The Hermitage School in Chester-le-Street were given the opportunity to be photographed with the trophy.

It was brought to the school as part of a whistle-stop tour of the country organised by FA cup sponsors Nationwide Building Society, following a competition to find the nation's most deserving fans.

The school's business manager Steve Barnes and headteacher Ian Robertson entered the competition to give the school a boost after the loss of its sports hall and were delighted to find they were one of the few winners.

Mr Barnes said: "We were mainly picked because we had our sports facilities burnt down a year gone November and the head thought it would lift moral of the pupils and staff."

The cup was at the school for about an hour and school football teams and pupils paid £1 towards Red Nose Day to have their photograph taken with it. They also had a visit from footballing legend Bobby Kerr, a former Sunderland player and the last North-East captain to win the FA cup, in 1973.

The cup was then taken to English Martyrs School, Sunderland, and St David's School in Middlesbrough