'It feels like we've won the lottery too': St Francis FC celebrate after funding pledge from £115million EuroMillions winners Frances and Patrick Connolly

The secretary of a Hartlepool community football club has spoken of his amazement after £115million EuroMillions winners Frances and Patrick Connolly pledged their support.

The couple, from Moira in Northern Ireland, lived in Hartlepool for 25 years and Mrs Connolly used to work with St Francis FC.

(from left) St Francis FC vice secretary Stuart Allison, chairman Peter Rooney and secretary Trevor Robinson

(from left) St Francis FC vice secretary Stuart Allison, chairman Peter Rooney and secretary Trevor Robinson

She revealed in a press conference today that they plan to use some of the win to help the club.

Chairman Peter Rooney said he had not believed the news when he was first told: "I thought it was a hoax, to be honest. I did not know what to believe.

"I don't know what to think of it - we don't know what is going to happen next."

The club had recently begun fund-raising to build a new club house at its base in Rossmere Way: "We have been in touch with Sport England," said Peter.

St Francis chairman Peter Rooney celebrates the news

St Francis chairman Peter Rooney celebrates the news

"We have had a couple of meetings and they are willing to fund us - but we need to show we are able to raise £50,000.

"We did a month of sponsorship and have raised £11,000."

He was struggling to come to terms with this morning's news: "I don't know what to think of it, I am absolutely stunned.

"We have got a meeting of the board members this evening, our first of the year. I think we will be putting this on the agenda," he said.

"It is absolutely brilliant."

Peter has never met Mr and Mrs Connolly: "I have been chairman for four years," he said.

"It must have been before my time that they were members of the club."

St Francis secretary Trevor Robinson said: "It feels like we've won the lottery too," after hearing the news.

Trevor succeeded Mrs Connolly as secretary at the club, which runs a series of teams for boys and girls.

Read more: All you need to know about Patrick and Frances Connolly

He said he could not believe it when the new multi-millionaire announced at a press conference in Northern Ireland that she wanted to spend some of her vast winnings on the club she used to work with.

He had no idea how much money Mr and Mrs Connolly were planning to give but added that there was plenty of scope to spend it.

He said the 11 teams, which span ages from six-year-olds to 13-year-olds, currently change in temporary accommodation and the club was hoping to raise £400,000 to build the clubhouse which would serve as a community hub as well as a facility for the teams who play at Rossmere Park in the town.

He added: "I'm overwhelmed. It feels like we've won the lottery too. It's mad.

"We've grown from three teams to eleven and we've got girls involved too, so we're getting bigger and bigger.

"We're more than just a football team, we're part of the community."

Mr Robinson said around 30 to 40 volunteers regularly help with everything from coaching to making tea.

"The clubhouse is not just about the games, it would give families somewhere to go," he said.

Mr Robinson said he took over from Mrs Connolly but did not know her personally.