Kids' goalden day with Burnley stars

This Is Lancashire: Baby Thomas Hartley with his full Burnley kit on with his dad Ashley meet players Kieran Trippier and Ross Wallace Baby Thomas Hartley with his full Burnley kit on with his dad Ashley meet players Kieran Trippier and Ross Wallace

BURNLEY’s table-topping stars brought festive cheer to dozens of sick youngsters with a surprise visit.

Sean Dyche and the entire Turf Moor first-team squad went to the Royal Blackburn Hospital with gifts for the children’s ward.

Clarets goodies, dolls, toy cars, signed footballs and chocolates were among the presents dished out by the boss and his players.

Among the delighted recipients was 10-month-old Thomas Hartley, who has spent his life in and out of hospital with breathing difficulties.

Dressed in his mini replica kit, Thomas posed with his dad, Ashley and his mum’s favourite player, Kieran Trippier.

Mum, Michaela McNulty, from Rosegrove, said: “I thought I was going to faint when Kieran walked in. We’ll be able to tell him all about this when he’s older.”

Mr Hartley, who had a ticket for Saturday’s 1-0 win over Barnsley but missed the game to be by Thomas’s bedside, said: “It’s been a really good day and it’s great to see the club takes such an interest. When he sits on my knee and watches the goals he’s always quiet and these guys will be his heroes when he grows up.”

Manager Dyche said: “At this time of the year it’s not ideal for anyone to be in hospital.

“This is to show there is a thought there from the club through the players being here. We know what the community means to the club and what the club means to the community.

“It’s important we continue the good work that’s done and the messages that are sent.”

The presents were donated by Hargreaves Street recruitment firm Neville Gee and wrapped by staff at the Asda store in Princess Way.

Clarets’ top scorer, Danny Ings, added: “Footballers tend to get a negative name but stuff like this shows that we do care, especially at Burnley.”

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