AFC Bournemouth players spread Christmas cheer to sick children at Poole Hospital

Bournemouth Echo: PRESENT COMPANY: AFC Bournemouth players at Poole Hospital PRESENT COMPANY: AFC Bournemouth players at Poole Hospital

STARS from AFC Bournemouth visited children at Poole Hospital yesterday to bring some Christmas spirit and hand out presents.

The players signed programmes and gave gifts including teddies, pencil cases and more from Father Christmas.

Led by manager, Eddie Howe, each of the group took it in turns to meet some of their little fans and bring a smile to the faces of kids who are receiving treatment on the children’s ward.

Andy Rimmer, club chaplain, said: “We do this every year and it’s an opportunity for the football players to go out into the community, which Eddie is very keen on.

“It’s saying football is football, but there are more important things in life as well.

“It’s encouraging for the children and their parents and families to meet the guys, even those children who don’t know who they are, because it can be nice to receive a visit from someone who cares.

“A lot of the guys have got kids of their own so they understand what it’s like to be a parent themselves and to see the good work that the hospital does.”

Richard Hughes, 34, one of the AFC Bournemouth players who attended the visit – just two weeks after his own new baby daughter Isla was born in time for Christmas.

He said: “It’s nice to come here, at what is a time of need, and the primary concern is obviously to see that the kids are okay.

He added: “There were positive stories to hear and one child was actually able to leave the ward while we were there, although it wasn’t thanks to anything we said or did.

Tracey Fordham, a play specialist at Poole Hospital, said: “It is so kind of the Cherries players to give up their time to visit the children each year.”

“It really cheers up the youngsters and their families and we always look forward to it with great anticipation.”

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