FOOTBALLER Julio Arca proved a big hit with staff and guests when he visited the Hospice today.
The former Sunderland AFC and Middlesbrough FC player, who now plays for South Shields, was accompanied by his teammate Daryll Hall and prolific local fundraiser Mark Solan.
Julio and Mark are fighting at a charity boxing night in May and the Hospice is one of the good causes which will benefit from the fundraiser, along with Mark’s charity The Solan Connor Fawcett Family Cancer Trust.
Daryll, who is organising the contest, arranged today’s visit so Julio could find out more about our work and meet the guests and patients we support.
The sportsmen proved extremely popular in the Day Hospice, where they had a good chat with guests and volunteers.
Guest Bill Firby told Julio about his own football career, playing for local clubs Tow Law, Spennymoor and Brandon
Len Harvey, meanwhile, showed the former Black Cats player his boxing trophies and gave him some tips for when he enters the ring.
The visitors also stopped by the In Patient Unit and spoke to patients and signed autographs.
Jade McArdle, Community and Events Fundraiser at St Cuthbert’s Hospice, said:
“It was wonderful to welcome Julio, Mark and Daryll into the Hospice. There are a number of football and boxing fans here at present so it was a real treat. We would like to thank them for taking the time to visit us and also for choosing to support us at the charity boxing night in May.
“Mark has been a regular visitor to the Hospice in recent months and has delivered a large selection of gifts, chocolates and other treats for our patients and guests. We are so grateful to have the support of the Solan Connor Fawcett Family Cancer Trust.”
The charity boxing night takes place at the Rainton Meadows Arena, near Houghton-le-Spring.
Tickets, priced £30 for seats and £25 for standing, are available through Mark or the Trust’s Facebook page.