Football stars spread Christmas spirit in our hospitals

17 Dec 2018

Local football teams Tottenham Hotspur, West Ham United, Arsenal and Leyton Orient have continued their festive tradition of visiting young patients at the Barts Health NHS Hospitals.

From West Ham United, players Fabian Balbuena, Michail Antonio, Pablo Zabaleta, Declan Rice and Nathan Holland spent the afternoon at the Rainbow Centre children’s ward handing out West Ham United themed Christmas gifts.

Children, parents and staff were uplifted by their visit. Hammers fan Reece, 14, from Beckton said: “It was really exciting to meet the players.” His Mum Gemma (pictured with Reece, right) added: “This is a big thing for Reece, he’s a West Ham season ticket holder and he was even a mascot two years ago.”

Forward Michail Antonio said: “It’s very important that we take time to make these visits. I know what it feels like as a parent to have a child in hospital over Christmas – my first son was born six weeks premature, and it is very tough.

“To be able to come in and help put a smile on the children’s faces is something you can’t put into words. I was here last year and enjoyed every minute of it, it is something I love doing, and I will keep doing it for as long as I can.”

Premier League stars Tottenham Hotspur visited the Acorn ward at Whipps Cross Hospital. Fernando LLorente, Ledley King, Chloe Morgan, Brandon Austin and Jack Roles surprised patients and families with gifts and signed merchandise.

Sharona from Wanstead (pictured right) was on the ward with her 23-day-old baby. She said “It was so special and exciting – they’ve brought a bit of magic to the ward.”

Arsenal’s mascot Gunnersaurus joined us on the children’s ward at The Royal London Hospital and Leyton Orient will round off the visits later this week. 

To see all the photos, take a look at our Facebook photo albums.

Spread some festive joy

Help us spread some Christmas joy to all children and older patients spending Christmas in the Barts Health NHS Trust hospitals by making sure they have a gift to open on Christmas Day.

To donate a gift, please click here, text GGIF18 £10 to 70070 or call 020 7618 0720.

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