SICK children at Poole Hospital received a Christmas present courtesy of AFC Bournemouth.

Every member of the squad made a festive trip to the children’s wards to cheer up poorly little ones on Wednesday, complete with presents for all.

The club’s commercial executive, Tom Jeffes, said the number of players who turned out surprised even him.

He said: “I was expecting about 15 players, but the manager brought everyone, so it was a shock.

“It was great though – it’s one of the hardest things to do, to see kids who are unwell, but it’s one of the most rewarding things too.”

Each of the 25 local sports stars brought along at least one present for the children.

Mr Jeffes said: “The players had about 40 presents with them.

“The money for the gifts was raised by our community sports trust, and we also had presents from the AFC Bournemouth shop. We understand that not everyone likes football, so there was something for everyone.”

Players spent around an hour chatting to children on their visit.

Mr Jeffes said: “There happened to be two lads in on the day who are both big Bournemouth fans, and they were absolut-ely made up.

“I was chatting to one of their mums, and she was telling me how much this would mean to him, which is really nice.”

Resource co-ordinator for the children’s unit, Kenneth Mack-enzie, said: “It’s hard for our young patients to be in hospital at this time of year, so this visit is something which has brightened their day, and has given them something to talk about with their friends.”