DARLINGTON manager Martin Gray delighted children today (Monday, February 25) when he made a special appearance at their primary school.

Mr Gray, manager of Darlington 1883, was at Mount Pleasant School to present their football team with a brand new kit.

Teaching assistant Ann Swan said: “The kids have been very excited and couldn’t wait to see the new kit, there has been no calming them.

"We have not had new strips for years and the last ones were sponsored by a company that doesn’t exist now.

“Martin Gray has been very supportive towards our children. He has had his academy lads in teaching football and organised it so that our kids could see a Darlington game and look around the stadium. I think his influence on football in the community and in schools is brilliant.”

The strips – red and black to reflect school colours – were given to the school as a result of a successful bid for lottery funding, made through the Darlington Community Advice Partnership (CAP) community group.

Karen Booth, from CAP, said: “Our organisation was set up to make Darlington a happy place where people can thrive and prosper and if children are enjoying school and enjoying PE, then that is a big part of their health and wellbeing.”

Ms Swan added: “It was absolutely brilliant to get sponsored by CAP. They were really good with us and worked hard to get the money. It’s been a real community effort.”