ONE of Darlington FC’s longest serving volunteers, Martin Deans, has been awarded the Vanarama National League’s Volunteer of the Month award for February.

Martin, 63, has been a Darlington fan for nearly 50 years and a tunnel steward for 40 of them, making a 500 mile round trip from his home in Uxbridge, London, by either train or car for every single home game – even midweek.

He has become a familiar face in the tunnel to many fans, players and managers over the years, and has formed friendships with many people in that time.

Darlington FC’s chief executive officer David Johnston said: “Martin’s loyalty and devotion to the club are unsurpassed. To follow the club from such a long distance through all its up and downs over the years – and let’s face it there have been many – and hardly miss a game in that time is a magnificent achievement. We are sure that all Darlington fans will join me in saying that we are all very grateful for everything that he’s done for us. Long may he continue – he fully deserves this award.”

Martin is the second person from Darlington to win the monthly Volunteer award from the Vanarama National League – Claude Spooner was the October winner.