Yesterday (2 April), Newcastle United’s Sean Longstaff made a surprise appearance at the Great North Children’s Hospital in Newcastle.

Sean Longstaff at the Great North Children’s Hospital

The player dropped in to meet children with cancer who are supported by a special programme delivered by Newcastle United Foundation and funded by our 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.

This is the first project Newcastle United Foundation and our Foundation have delivered together and feedback from patients and their families has been overwhelmingly positive.

Coincidentally, 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.

James Geddes with Sean Longstaff

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 the matchday programme, Sean was inspired to get involved further.

Sean says: “This is my first visit to a Newcastle United Foundation project and it’s fantastic to see the impact they are having on young patients and their families here at Great North Children’s Hospital.

“The Foundation does such amazing work throughout our communities and, as someone who has grown up in Newcastle, I wanted to get more involved in supporting all the good things they are doing to make a difference to disadvantaged children and young people in our region.”

Lady Elsie, says: “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 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.”

Gareth Williams (left) is funded through our Foundation and has helped support James Geddes during his cancer treatment

During the visit, the Magpies’ star was announced as a Newcastle United Foundation Ambassador.

Head of Newcastle United Foundation, Kate Bradley, adds: “We’re delighted to have Sean’s support – 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.”