It's a Whites Christmas as Bolton Wanderers stars visit ill children and fans (From This Is Lancashire)
It's a Whites Christmas as Bolton Wanderers stars visit ill children and fans
Buy this photo » Hospital Patient Frankie Ball, aged four, gets a present from Jay Spearing
IT was a poignant day for Whites star and dad-of-three Jermaine Beckford when visiting poorly youngsters at the Royal Bolton Hospital.
Bolton Wanderers visit the children’s ward every Christmas but Jermaine said this time was particularly moving after his own newborn baby had been fighting an illness in hospital just last week.
The 30-year-old said: “Today’s been quite emotional. We had a little boy on Tuesday last week and he was born with a lung infection.
“It’s still very raw for me, especially when chatting to the parents here today. It feels very real.”
Jermaine’s third child Ren is now on the mend and was discharged from hospital three days ago.
The striker was joined by seven other players to hand out presents to all of the children on the ward. The striker added: “I hope we have helped to take the kids’ minds off being poorly. It’s nice to put a smile on their faces, especially at Christmas.”
Players Jay Spearing, Rob Hall, Chris Eagles, Neil Danns, Chung-Yong Lee, Mark Davies, Alex Baptiste and Josh Vela also donned their Santa hats for the occasion.
Midfielder Jay, a dad-of-one, said the day had put everything into perspective.
He said: “If we can put a smile on some of the kids’ faces we’ve done our job. The reaction from everyone has been amazing.”
Whites stars also paid visits to Bolton Hospice and Derian House.
Whites fan Dominic Hall, aged 11, from Egerton, said: “I was really surprised when all the players walked in today. I’m a Wanderers fan so I got my picture with all of them and Lofty the Lion.”
Four-year-old Frankie Ball was recovering from a chest infection. His mum Kelly Rimmer said: “He was really poorly yesterday but today he’s been running round. He loved seeing Lofty.”
Lydia Hill, play co-ordinator on the paediatric unit, said: “It has been a marvellous experience for the families and for the staff. The team have been coming for years it and they always bring a bit of Christmas sparkle.”
Player Joe Riley, who visited the hospice, said: “Having seen my grandma spend time in a hospice like this, I know how important they are to elderly people and also how hard the staff here work.
“It’s a really great place and it was a great experience to come down here today.”
Stuart Holden, who visited Derian House added: “I think the staff and children are taken back a little when they see us walk through the door every year with Christmas presents. It’s very rewarding and humbling to see how much it means.”
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