South Shields left-back Blair Adams dropped in on an end-of-term showcase performance by pupils at a South Tyneside school to deliver a special surprise on behalf of the club.
The former England Under-20 international was joined by fellow club representatives Jamie Williams and Wess Brown to present Epinay Business and Enterprise School with a cheque for £1,000.
The club decided to make the donation after making a number of visits to the school, with officials left impressed by the outstanding work delivered by staff and the tremendous attitude and behaviour of pupils.
Epinay caters for children and young people aged four to 19 with a wide range of special educational and complex needs.
The school is led by headteacher Chris Rue, who had two spells as a player with South Shields.
Mr Rue added: “It is fantastic to have a partnership with our local football team, especially in these exciting times when South Shields FC are climbing the leagues and attracting such a huge fanbase.
“Our children are big supporters of the club, and many of them are now spending their Saturdays at Mariners Park.
“The players themselves are such positive role models and their work in the community has been shared during assemblies, so our children really do look up to them.
“The £1,000 donation has helped us build an outdoor classroom.
“This educational space allows children to do a number of things. I have already seen them rehearse performances and complete academic and vocational work in the space.
“It allows the children more freedom to express themselves and work in a more exciting and creative work space.
“I would personally like to thank Geoff Thompson and everyone at the club for their kind donation.
“We really hope our friendship and partnership grows over the season and beyond.”
Adams, Williams and Brown attended the school’s Christmas showcase performance, where pupils wowed an audience of family members and school staff with a range of dance routines.
South Shields FC chairman Geoff Thompson said: “As a club we really want to make our work more representative of the community and we recognise the invaluable role that Epinay plays in supporting children with additional needs.
“We think they do a great job and are really impressed with the environment that Chris and his staff have created.
“We’re impressed by the innovative ideas that they have and are really keen to support them.
“Everyone who has visited the school has been overwhelmed by the enthusiasm and energy of the children and the care of the staff for them.
“We hope that this donation helps to make a positive difference for them.”