A football legend came along to Ponteland Middle School for the official opening of a state-of-the-art sporting facility.
It took two-and-a-half years to raise the £447,000 required for the outdoor 9x9 artificial football pitch, which is located on land next to the old railway line.
And there was great excitement among the pupils this afternoon as the surprise guest of honour was Alan Shearer, who wore the number nine shirt for Newcastle United and England.
Dozens of them were wearing black or white to form a Newcastle United human logo.
The facility consists of one nine-a-side pitch, one seven-a-side pitch and three five-a-side pitches.
It will be available to the wider community through adult football leagues and junior leagues, as well as being an asset for the schools in the Ponteland Partnership and local sports clubs.
Ponteland Middle School headteacher Caroline Pryer spent a lot of time putting the bid together with help from others including Ponteland United FC’s joint chairman Alan Birkinshaw.
She said: “This is an absolutely fantastic day as we’ve waited a long time for a facility like this in Ponteland.
“It fulfils a need for the schools, local clubs and the wider community.
“There were periods of doubt because we had to raise an enormous amount of money and it’s not the sort of day-to-day job you would expect at a school, but thanks to the tremendous efforts of everyone involved with the project, we were able to reach our target.
“We did all this for the children and it was great seeing their faces when Alan Shearer turned up.
“He was lovely with the pupils and our Newcastle United human logo was a nice tribute to his football achievements.”