TINY tots donned regal robes and a seafaring swagger as they took part in an inaugural sponsored princess and pirate toddle.

Mini monarchs and swashbuckling seadogs, aged from 0 to 11, took a stroll to help support St Teresa’s Hospice, Darlington.

Over 80 youngsters, accompanied by parents, grandparents, carers family and friends, crossed the starting line of the sponsored walk around South Park, Darlington, helping to help raise funds for the hospice’s family support and children’s counselling services.

The walk, officially started by St Teresa’s chief executive Jane Bradshaw, was supported by principal sponsors Café Zest, House of Fraser, Darlington, who provided picnic boxes for all entrants.

“This is the very first princess and pirate themed walk that we have held and it is fabulous to see so many young people, and family members, all dressed up and supporting St Teresa’s,” said Mrs Bradshaw.

“We held our pirate themed annual midnight walk earlier in the year, for ages 14 and above, so this is a great opportunity for younger members of the community to be able to share in the fun and also raise much-needed funds to help other children and families that are being supported by the hospice.”

Accompanied by Captain Hook and Moana, the young walkers also took part in a treasure hunt, locating jewels en route, which they traded for golden chocolate coins, before enjoying a traditional Punch and Judy and balloon modelling show.

Prizes of family tickets to see Snow White at the Hippodrome, Darlington, were awarded to the best dressed pirate and princess on the day.

Mum Wendy Togher, who brought along sons George, five and  Jacob, two, to walk in memory of their great uncle Alan Dawson, said: “My uncle Alan was an inpatient at St Teresa’s for many weeks and remained there until he lost his battle with cancer – he was just 53.

“Alan was one of the first patients in the hospice’s new specialist unit, which he called his posh hotel room, and both he and all the family really valued the staff and the work they did to make him feel as comfortable as he could be.

“They would order him his favourite take away and made Christmas feel really special, even the boys felt at ease visiting St Teresa’s as it was such a welcoming environment, so to be able to help fundraise for the hospice today as a family is very special indeed.”