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Durham spread a little festive happiness at the Great North Children’s Hospital

From left: Durham's James Weighell, Ryan Pringle, Neil Killeen and Will Smith enjoy their visit to the Great North Children's Hospital
From left: Durham's James Weighell, Ryan Pringle, Neil Killeen and Will Smith enjoy their visit to the Great North Children's Hospital

Durham County Cricket Club’s players and staff attended the Great North Children’s Hospital yesterday to help spread Christmas joy to the neurology ward.

Durham head coach Jon Lewis and second-team coach Neil Killeen attended alongside first-team players Will Smith, James Weighell, Josh Coughlin and Ryan Pringle.

Joined by club mascot Chester the Lion, the players offered gifts, signed autographs, posed for photos and spent time with the children and their families who will be spending Christmas at the hospital.

Durham’s marketing team and Foundation manager Josie Pointon – who helped develop a partnership between the GNCH and Durham County Cricket Club earlier this year – were also in attendance.

Lewis said: “It’s great to have been able to bring the players and staff along to the hospital and hopefully put a smile on the faces of some children who aren’t feeling too great.

“Chester the Lion came along and cheered the youngsters up and it was very impressive to see how strong some of the children were being.

“It’s fantastic to be able to strengthen our ties with the community, something we’re looking to continue doing moving forward.”

New signing and opening batsman Smith, back for a second stint with Durham in the 2018 campaign, added: “Christmas is a special time of year for families and to see people in hospital at this time of year is tough.

“Hopefully we put a smile on the kids’ faces for a day or two and they can get home as soon as possible.”