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Young cancer patients complete custom-built LEGO St. James' Park models with club charity's help

Children receiving cancer treatment on Tyneside are using their talents to build bespoke LEGO St. James’ Park models with the help of Newcastle United Foundation and a professional LEGO artist.

Newcastle United’s official charity challenged North Shields-based LEGO architect Steve Mayes to create a model of the city centre stadium, complete with full instructions for little builders to follow.

For the past two years, Foundation staff have been searching for new ways to engage children and teenagers spending time on the Great North Children’s Hospital’s paediatric oncology ward.

Patients, visiting relatives and staff alike are encouraged to play, learn, laugh and stay active with a range of activities delivered by the Foundation, funding by Sir Bobby Robson Foundation and players of People’s Postcode Lottery.

Newcastle United Foundation Great North Children’s Hospital Project Coordinator, Gareth Williams, noticed LEGO building was a popular pastime on the ward and wanted to bring a piece of Newcastle into the city centre hospital.

Gareth said: “The children at the hospital are always excited to start building something new and we wanted to make that process even more special for them with some bespoke kits using LEGO.

“LEGO has never created a St. James’ Park set, so we asked Steve at Brick This to come up with a small-scale stadium and some easy-to-follow instructions. We couldn’t be happier with the result and can’t wait for more patients to have a go at building it.”

To celebrate painstakingly recreating a replica St. James’, Steve invited youngsters in the care of Great North Children’s Hospital to explore his LEGO studio in North Shields and test out the design.

There, patients Kayleigh and Ted, built the stadium brick-by-brick in around 90 minutes and Ted, who has enjoyed building models with Newcastle United Foundation staff in hospital in the past, said: “I’ve never been so impressed in my whole life!”

Gareth added: “We have enough pieces now to take 20 St. James’ Park sets to the hospital so we can work with a number of children and teenagers to make their own stadiums.

“Steve at Brick This has managed to capture the stadium’s detail perfectly and the model even includes Newcastle United Foundation and Brick This branding kindly printed on to LEGO pieces by the team at FabBricks Personalised LEGO.

“This has been a really special project for us to work on together and the smiles on Kayleigh and Ted’s faces have been priceless.”

Currently, Steve’s Brick This LEGO design for St. James’ Park is not for sale and will solely be distributed to children receiving cancer treatment in Newcastle.

Newcastle United Foundation staff use vital funding from the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation and support from players of People’s Postcode Lottery to tailor sports and educational activities that also engage siblings and families with their loved ones in hospital.

For the third year of the scheme at GNCH, players of People’s Postcode Lottery will be jointly-funding the project. Players of People’s Postcode Lottery support various Newcastle United Foundation programmes through generous donations to: Fit Club for Over 50s, Great North Children’s Hospital, Newcastle Panthers, NE1 Works, Volunteering, Women and Girls Football, and 5-A-Side Intervention.

Newcastle United Foundation works across the region with people of all ages and abilities through a variety of sport, education and employability-based programmes. For more information, visit nufoundation.org.uk

For more information on the Foundation's Community programmes
Email foundation@nufc.co.uk

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