Darlington Football Club is hoping to soar to new heights after taking on the region’s air ambulance as its new charity of the year.
The Quakers have signed an agreement with the Great North Air Ambulance Service (GNAAS), whose head office is in Darlington’s Grange Road, which will see the charity’s logo on the team’s away shirts for the duration of the 2014/15 season.
The club will also hold bucket collections on behalf of GNAAS at selected home games and support the charity’s events in and around Darlington.
Mandy Drake, head of fundraising at GNAAS, said the partnership represented a “significant boost” for the charity, which needs to raise £4m every year to continue to operate.
She added: “This is great news for the charity. Not only do we hope to raise some much-needed money, but having our logo on the shirt will also raise the profile of our organisation. We are proud to be associated with Darlington Football Club and look forward to a successful year together, both on and off the pitch.”
As part of the agreement, GNAAS will receive a third of the profits from all sales of the green and white away shirt.
Mrs Drake went on to say: “The shirt is a great way of showing support not just for the Quakers, but also for the Great North Air Ambulance Service. All of the money made will go towards saving lives in our region.”
Martin Gray, Darlington’s manager welcomed the news of the partnership with GNAAS and said, “The work of the air ambulance service is respected by everyone within the community. This is another massive step forward for the club in becoming an integral part of the community and I am sure every fan will join the players and management in being extremely proud to wear the new away shirt and to be associated with the fantastic people at GNAAS and the life-saving work they perform.”
The club’s Community and Fans’ Manager, Dave Mills, added “DFC is delighted to welcome another high profile local community partner to work closely with the Football Club next season. This season’s excellent relationship with St Teresa’s Hospice has been extremely successful for all concerned, and will certainly be a long lasting one. We believe that the same level of community togetherness will be created with the air ambulance – in what promises to be another exciting and progressive year for the club and the community as a whole.”
The partnership comes in a potentially landmark year for the club, which hopes to return to Darlington at some stage in the early part of the new season.
In a poll of the club’s fans recently, a black and white hooped design was chosen for the home shirt, by polling in excess of 50% of the votes cast. Both shirts will be available for pre-order shortly from Quaker Retail, with the first delivery of shirts scheduled for June.