A BOY who turned his footballing skills into fundraising has won the admiration of Middlesbrough FC’s top brass.

Joseph Jones dribbled a ball for two miles around a field at family farm Checkerleazes Farm, near West Auckland, County Durham, to raise money for a charity close to his heart.

The nine-year-old managed to make £740 in sponsorship which he is donating to the Spennymoor-based Solan Connor Fawcett Family Cancer Trust.

Joseph plays football for Middlesbrough’s Under 9s, and when Boro manager Jonathan Woodgate, his assistant Robbie Keane and club captain George Friend heard about his charity crusade they all sent him video messages of support.

Woodgate told him he was ‘absolutely fantastic’ and a ‘credit to you family and the club’ while Keane described the nine-year-old as ‘unbelievable’ adding: “I heard you are a top, top player.”

And club captain George Friend said: “Massive congratulations from myself and all of the first team.”

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About a year ago, Joseph played for a Pass Soccer Academy team at a charity football day in aid of the Trust at Spennymoor Town FC's Brewery Field ground.

When he scored a goal, he lifted his shirt to reveal another top paying tribute to his mother Elizabeth Jones and her late mother Emily Seagrave, who died of cancer.

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He left the event wanting to do more to support the Trust and was planning a sponsored run.

But when Joseph, pupil at Copeland Road Primary School, in West Auckland, heard on the news that many charities could struggle to survive due to coronavirus he leapt into action.

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Dad Wayne Jones said: "Everyone in the family gets to see how well he is doing at football but he never met his gran on his mam's side and we wanted to have that connection.

"He set out to raise £500 and got £740, we were all blown away by the support he has had. It is especially good of people to donate now, at times when people have other things on their minds and some will be feeling destitute in their own pockets.

"He was over the moon with the video messages from Middlesbrough."

Mark Solan, founder of the Trust, is confident the charity will still be strong once the coronavirus pandemic is over and restrictions are lifted so usual fundraising and actions can resume.

He said: "We've had some amazing support, and are really grateful as it allows us to keep supporting families affected by cancer. Little Jo was amazing."

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