- Leicester City’s annual Christmas visit to Leicester Royal Infirmary took place on Wednesday
- The Club’s first team players handed out gifts, which they contributed to
- Alan Birchenall was also in attendance to spread Christmas cheer to youngsters going through a difficult time
The entire first team squad had the opportunity to meet children who this Christmas may have to spend their holidays in hospital due to the difficulties they face with their health.
They visited five different sections of the Leicester Royal Infirmary, meeting patients and their parents on the surgical, neurology, medical, cancer and day care wards.
“We come down here every year and it’s always a joy to see all the children and put a smile on their faces,” skipper Wes Morgan told LCFC TV. "They’re really happy to see us. Even the staff as well are pretty happy and pretty excited when we come along.
“Obviously, we’ve brought some gifts and we just want to put a smile on some of their faces here at the hospital.
“We know it’s a tough time of the year, but even just spending a few minutes with them to talk with them, we know it means a lot to them and from our point of view, we’ve got families ourselves, so we know how hard it can be for people with children that are in the hospital, especially over Christmas.
“It’s the little bits that we can do that mean a lot to other people.”
Split into small groups to allow them to spend significant periods of time with the youngsters, the City players handed out a variety of gifts during the visit.
Christian Fuchs said: “It’s something we do every year, coming out here with the first team to the hospital and putting a smile on the kids’ faces – that’s the most important thing that they need.
It reminds us again how important health is to anybody, young or old. It’s just one thing and one value that we should appreciate the very most.Christian Fuchs LCFC TV
“They’re having a tough period in their lives and seeing the smiles from the kids, literally every single one… some are shy and you get so many reactions, but it makes you think about your children right away, which I do anyway all the time, but it just reminds me and us how privileged we are.
“It reminds us again how important health is to anybody, young or old. It’s just one thing and one value that we should appreciate the very most. I hope that those kids here will find their way back to a healthy lifestyle.”
Presents included iPads, Kindles, DVDs and DVD players, which were all contributed to by the players, while they also received gift-filled stockings and board games.
Following his first hospital visit at the Football Club, James Justin said: “It’s been nice and heart-warming, going around and seeing all the children. Obviously, they may or may not be home for Christmas, which is a sad thing.
City Spread Christmas Cheer At Leicester Royal Infirmary
Leicester City’s annual Christmas visit to Leicester Royal Infirmary took place on Wednesday.
“I hope they can all get home for Christmas to be honest, but it’s really nice for us to be able to come here and give them a few presents to cheer them up.
“They all seem really happy that we’ve all come and spent the time with them and talked with them about anything really.
“It’s not a nice thing being in hospital, let alone being in hospital around Christmas time, but hopefully us coming here has put a smile on their faces and that’s what we aim to do when we come.”
The time they spent in the hospital not only gave them an understanding of the tough time each patient is going through, but also the efforts of Leicester Royal Infirmary’s staff.
It’s not a nice thing being in hospital, let alone being in hospital around Christmas time, but hopefully us coming here has put a smile on their faces and that’s what we aim to do when we come.James Justin LCFC TV
Consultant Paediatrician at Leicester Royal Infirmary, Dr. Sanjiv Nichani, said: “They’ve been coming every year for many years now and it brings so much joy and cheer.
“You can just see the expressions on people’s faces. It literally lights up the festive season, so we’re very grateful for their visit, and hope it continues every year.
“Everybody in the hospital – the patients, their families, the staff… the buzz before, during and afterwards lasts for days. It takes them through a very, very difficult time in their lives, so this is really good and we’re very grateful for it.”
Debbie Adlerstein, Head of Business Development for Leicester Hospitals Charity, added: “In our hospital, it’s not Christmas until we know the players' visit is going to happen, so it means the world to them!
“They get so excited and we get loads of phone calls about where they’re going and which wards they are visiting, and loads of requests for the players to go and see patients. It’s great and it creates such a buzz.
“We try and keep it as quiet as possible, but certainly the day before, we like to give parents an opportunity to bring anything in, like shirts and balls and kit, so they can get those signed.
“It makes them feel really important, and part of the community and part of Leicester City’s history and the whole club. It’s fantastic.”
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