More than £3,500 has been raised for the charity Cancer Connections after the South Shields community put its shirt on an exciting campaign.

South Shields FC’s limited edition community shirt, designed by Little Mix superstar Jade Thirlwall and North East illustrator and designer James Dixon, proved incredibly popular after its launch in October.

All of the Mariners’ profits from sales of the item are being donated to Cancer Connections, of which Jade – also the club’s honorary president – is a long-term supporter and patron.

A cheque for £3,637.37 was presented to the charity by Shields player-assistant manager Jon Shaw and captain Blair Adams on a special visit to the facility, based on Harton Lane in South Shields.

With the shirts – which celebrate some of the town’s most famous names and landmarks – still on sale, that figure is expected to rise in the weeks ahead.

Cancer Connections provides advice and support to cancer patients, carers and families with the aim of making the turbulent journey a little easier for everyone involved.

Charity manager Deborah Roberts said: “We’re absolutely delighted to be involved with South Shields FC, especially considering our patron Jade designed the shirt and has a big connection with the club.

“It has been a difficult two years for fundraising because of the pandemic, so to have a donation of this size is going to be a huge help.

“It’s a beautiful and memorable shirt which is meaningful to anyone who is connected to the town, and the community bought into it massively, far exceeding our expectations.

“We can’t do what we do without people supporting us and making contributions.

“It’s a whole community effort to help those who really need it and Cancer Connections belongs to the community.

“Without the support of brilliant organisations like South Shields Football Club, what we do wouldn’t be possible.”

The money raised for Cancer Connections will help the charity continue its invaluable services, including providing complimentary and vital therapies for cancer patients to give them and their families respite from the stresses of treatment.

South Shields FC player-assistant manager Jon Shaw said: “It was a pleasure to visit Cancer Connections and get a small insight into the incredible work they do.

“It truly is a fantastic facility and I can see why many people who use it describe it as a home from home, because that’s what it feels like.

“Our community shirt was warmly received by supporters and players, and to know that our fanbase came together to buy so many of them and support such a worthwhile charity at the same time is uplifting.

“It’s clear that the funds raised will go such a long way and help so many people in our community.”

The limited edition community shirts remain on sale at https://store.southshieldsfc.co.uk/.

Kevin Phillips’ backroom team has been confirmed as South Shields’ new manager prepares for his first game at the helm. 

Phillips will be assisted by Jon Shaw and Wess Brown at 1st Cloud Arena, with Phil Naisbett and Andrew Morris to continue in their roles as goalkeeping coach and head of physiotherapy and medical respectively.

We can also today announce the departure of previous joint assistant manager Brian Smith, who has decided to bring his time at the club to an end.

Smith joined in January 2019 and dedicated three years of outstanding service to the Mariners.

Hugely popular with players, staff and supporters alike, Smith proved to be a vital part of the coaching staff during his time at the club and will be hugely missed by all concerned.

We would like to thank him for his excellent contribution and wish him all the best moving forwards.

Brian and his family will always be welcome at 1st Cloud Arena.

South Shields travel to Bamber Bridge on Tuesday as two of the Pitching In Northern Premier League’s top five go head-to-head.

The Mariners go into the match separated from top spot by goal difference after they extended their unbeaten start to 12 games with a 0-0 draw at Nantwich Town on Saturday.

Tuesday’s hosts, meanwhile, are fifth in the table, 10 points behind Shields with a game in hand.

Shields and Brig were promoted to this division together in 2017-18, and have been involved in a number of tight and entertaining battles over the last four seasons.

Joint assistant manager Jon Shaw – who will lead the Mariners alongside Brian Smith as manager Graham Fenton continues to isolate following a positive COVID-19 test – is expecting another exciting tussle at the Sir Tom Finney Stadium.

He said: “We’ve never had an easy game against Bamber Bridge and have been involved in some crazy scorelines against them.

“It’s always a great match for the neutral, but probably hasn’t been in the past for the management of the two teams because it often causes some scary moments.

“We’re looking forward to it and will be giving it everything to extend our unbeaten run and try to get top spot back.

“We’ve got to be very wary and expect a tough challenge, which is what you always get from Jamie Milligan’s teams.”

Shields were unable to break down Nantwich on Saturday, but did stretch their unbeaten start to the league campaign to 12 matches with the goalless draw.

Shaw was satisfied with much of the team’s play, but is seeking improvements as they look to return to winning ways.

He added: “We need to up our levels from Saturday and if we perform slightly better on the ball we’ll give ourselves a great chance.

“The lads’ effort levels were brilliant on Saturday and we felt we created enough chances to win, but it was just that little bit of quality that we were missing.

“Physically we’re in good nick, albeit we’re without a few bodies.

“At this stage of the season, going down there and potentially coming away with a point would probably be deemed a good result, but we don’t go into any game looking to draw. We’ll be aiming to win, as we do every game.”

Shields are without midfielder Will Jenkins, who was stretchered off early in Saturday’s game with what appeared to be a serious leg injury.

X-rays later showed Jenkins had not suffered a fracture, but he is not in contention for the match against Brig.

The Mariners will be able to call upon the services of Ntumba Massanka despite the striker receiving a red card in the closing stages at Nantwich. Massanka’s three-match suspension does not begin until Saturday’s home fixture against Basford United.

Shields have no fresh injury concerns heading into Tuesday’s 7.45pm kick-off at the Sir Tom Finney Stadium, which has a post code of PR5 6UX.

The last meeting between the sides was in October 2020, with the Mariners running out 3-1 winners in Lancashire.

The gates will open at 6pm on Tuesday and admission prices are £10 for adults, £7 for over-65s, students with valid ID and season ticket holders of any EFL or Premier League club, and £2 for accompanied children aged up to 16 years.

Very limited parking space is available at the ground and if parking in the residential streets around the ground, supporters are asked to be considerate to Bamber Bridge’s neighbours and park legally and safely.

Those who are unable to attend the game will be able to listen to live commentary from Chris May and Ronnie Peet on The Mariners Live Mixlr channel. The commentary can be accessed by clicking here.