KIND hearted pupils have sprinted to the aid of a hospice which is struggling to raise funds during the COVID crisis.

Pandemic restrictions prevented the annual St Teresa’s Santa Run being staged at West Park Academy, Darlington.

But pupils refused to be put off and staged year group bubble Santa dashes in the school grounds over two days to raise much-needed funds.

Their efforts raised an impressive £716.76 for St Teresa’s Hospice, which needs £3m a year to provide in-patient and community care, as well as family support and bereavement counselling, in Darlington, South Durham and North Yorkshire.

Headteacher Sam Hirst said: “We have always been very proud of our association with St Teresa’s Hospice, which is such a worthy cause and an incredible facility for Darlington and the surrounding area.

“When we realised the annual Santa Run could not be staged because of COVID restrictions we were determined to do something to help and our head of sports Caroline Black did a brilliant job mobilising the year group bubbles to run a sponsored dash.”

St Teresa’s chief executive Jane Bradshaw added: “I absolutely love our events and not being able to run any this year has been incredibly disappointing. What keeps us going, resilient and resolute in the face of this awful pandemic, is the ingenuity and determination of supporters like everyone at West Park Academy to continue helping us at this difficult time.”

When the pandemic struck cancelling a string of fundraising events and closing charity shops an emergency appeal was launched to try and make up some of the shortfall and donations can still be made at https://justgiving.com/campaign/hugtostts.