Hammers spread a little Christmas joy

  • by Staff Writer
  • Wednesday, 19th December 2018

West Ham United's players have been visiting local hospices ahead of next week's Christmas break.

On Monday 20 members of Steve Potts and Liam Manning's Under 23s visited St Clare Hospice in Hastingwood, near Epping Forest, in order to spread some Xmas cheer.

And the Hospice - which provides free, compassionate care and support to adults with life-limiting illnesses - also received a donation of ?1,000 from the club.

The Under 23s pose with Irons fan Lyn Whitworth

Chief Executive of St Clare Hospice, Sarah Thompson, said: "We're very grateful for the support of the West Ham team and it was wonderful to see them bringing some festive cheer to our patients. The donation could run our 24 hour advice line for more than the 12 days of Christmas.

"As all of our services are free of charge, and most of our funding comes from voluntary donations, we rely on our local community to help us raise money each year so we can continue being there for local families facing one of the most difficult journeys in life."

And coach Manning added: "It was a humbling experience for our footballers to come and help today; seeing the strength and courage of the patients and the dedication of all the staff we met has been a profound experience that will hopefully stay with them.

"At West Ham we are committed to making a difference to people in our community and raising awareness of the important work that local charities, such as St Clare Hospice, are doing to help people when they need it most. Hopefully our visit today has done exactly that."

Meanwhile representatives from the first team have also been visiting Richard House Children's Hospice in Beckton, where children with limited life expectancy attend for treatment and/or respite.

This year Andy Carroll, Javier Hernandez, Felipe Anderson and Winston Reid joined mascots Bubbles and Hammerhead to bring a little cheer to the patients, all of whom were delighted to see Premier League footballers.

Carroll, Anderson, Hernandez and Reid visited Beckton's Richard House

"When a child is diagnosed with a serious life limiting condition, the whole family is thrown into turmoil," said Kirsty Blair, Head of Care at Richard House. "We are here to support them through these difficult times, and continue to do so even after their child has died. A memory like meeting a player from West Ham is priceless."

And Hammers striker Hernandez, who was more than happy to pose for photos and sign autographs, revealed that the players also benefit from the arrangement.

"It's great to see so many happy faces and to be able to come down here and give out gifts to the children and families," he said. "The main thing in life is to enjoy it as much as possible, these children and families are all enjoying each other's company that is clear to see. If we can make any small difference, then all the players are really happy to do that."

Elsewhere, club captain Mark Noble and Robert Snidgraas flew to Barcelona in order to check on the progress of Isla Caton, who is battling against child cancer Neuroblastoma, with which she was diagnosed in 2017.

Snodgrass and Noble pose with four-year-old Isla earlier this week

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