Newcastle United star Sean Longstaff made a surprise appearance to visit young cancer patients.
The player, from Whitley Bay, visited the Great North Children’s Hospital in Newcastle to meet children with cancer, supported by a special programme delivered by the Newcastle United Foundation and funded by the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation.
The initiative delivers tailored sporting and education activities and programmes to young cancer patients from across the north east and Cumbria, as well as providing support to their siblings and families.
Sean lives next door to a young patient who has taken part in the programme.
James Geddes, from Whitley Bay, was referred after he was diagnosed with leukaemia at the age of 16.
Since getting out of hospital, Newcastle United Foundation staff have mentored and supported him, building his confidence to secure work experience, including a stint at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Newcastle.
After seeing James’ story in a Newcastle United match day programme, Sean was inspired to get involved further.
Sean said: “This is my first visit to a Newcastle United Foundation project and it’s fantastic to see the impact it is having on young patients and their families here at the Great North Children’s Hospital.
“The foundation does such amazing work throughout our communities.
“As someone who has grown up in Newcastle, I wanted to get more involved in supporting all the good things it is doing to make a difference to disadvantaged children and young people in our region.”
Lady Elsie Robson, said: “We’re absolutely thrilled by how well this project is going.
“To face cancer at any age is a difficult thing, but it’s especially hard for young patients and they deserve all the help we can give them.
“We’re very proud to be working in partnership with the Newcastle United Foundation.
“And we’ve had great support from Sunderland’s Foundation of Light and Middlesbrough’s Foundation, too.
“I know Bob would be very proud that we’ve been able to fund this and we’re so glad it’s making such a difference.”
During the visit, the Magpies’ star was announced as a Newcastle United Foundation Ambassador.
Head of the Newcastle United Foundation Kate Bradley said: “We’re delighted to have Sean’s support.”
She added: “As a young Geordie lad representing his local club in the Premier League, he is a hero and role model to so many of the people we work with.
“It means a lot that he wants to be more involved and help raise awareness of our work in the community.
“We’re really excited to be working more closely with Sean and getting him involved in some exciting future plans.”