Doll will be good for local charities

Left to right, Paul Beck, George Morris, Nicky Donbovand, Eileen Larkin, Mary Beck and Coun Marjorie James with Hartlepool Borough Council chairman Coun Stephen Akers-Belcher
Left to right, Paul Beck, George Morris, Nicky Donbovand, Eileen Larkin, Mary Beck and Coun Marjorie James with Hartlepool Borough Council chairman Coun Stephen Akers-Belcher

A HARTLEPOOL TV star has done his bit for charity by handing over a doll which became a screen star to a local authority chairman.

Town-born Sky Sports presenter Jeff Stelling made sure his famous James Brown doll got regular airings on the football show Soccer Saturday, whipping the musical toy out from under his desk every time the Pools player of the same name found the net.

But with the footballing James Brown having left Victoria Park for Gateshead in the summer, former Hartlepool Mail reporter Jeff needed to find a new home for the doll, which had also become an internet hit signing the classic song I Feel Good.

And the toy has now made its way “home” after Hartlepool Borough Council chairman Stephen Akers-Belcher got in touch with Jeff to tell him he could use it to boost the seven local charities he backs in his role as council leader.

Yesterday, Coun Akers-Belcher took the toy to his parlour at the Civic Centre, in Victoria Road, and opened it up for council workers and members of the public to hold it and have their pictures taken with it for a £1 charge to go towards his fundraising kitty.

His future plans for the doll though could see it auctioned off on internet site eBay or being used at fundraisers across the town.

Coun Akers-Belcher told the Mail: “I was delighted to get the doll off Jeff Stelling, it was so kind of him to give it to me to raise funds for my charities.

“The event yesterday went really well and we made about £20 from people coming to hold it and have their pictures taken with it.

“It caused quite a laugh in the Civic Centre and also emotion for one man who is a staunch Pools fan and who has watched the doll on telly a number of times.”

He added: “I think I’d like to do one more event like this before possibly auctioning it off and raising as much money as we possibly can and all for seven very good causes that are important to Hartlepool and the people here.”

The seven town charities are The Belle Vue Youth project, Central Correctors, Hartlepool Young Carers, NYPD (Nurturing Young People’s Development), The Phoenix Funsters, The Rifty Youth Project and the Wharton Annexe.

Jeff was given the doll several years ago by a Hartlepool resident when he went along to the opening of the Rift House Community Centre.