PLYMOUTH Argyle players and staff - as well as Santa, Pilgrim Pete and the Angels - visited Derriford Hospital on Wednesday to dispense some seasonal cheer.Many members of the first team squad, along with manager John Sheridan and performance manager John Harbin, stopped by the children's ward and children's theatre and recovery unit armed with chocolates, books and gifts from the Argyle club shop, all of which was paid for from their own pockets.
All the lads were happy to chat, pose for photographs and sign autographs for many brave children - and a few happy nurses, too!
It was tremendously moving to see the reactions from both sides. To see children, and their families, obviously going through a tough time at a poignant time of year, have their day brightened by footballers taking the time to have a chat, was very special.
At the same time, it was clear to see how some of the players were moved by the spirit of the courageous people they encountered during the visit.
Skipper Conor Hourihane said: "Obviously it’s not the best time of year to be in hospital and if we can help cheer people up, that’s great. It’s lovely to be able to put a smile on their faces, especially the little ones when we hand them their gifts. The books and chocolates go down especially well. This is the third time I have come up at Christmas now and I enjoy it every time.
“The lads have enjoyed it and as well as giving out gifts, we’ve been asked about our games over the festive period and people have wished us well.”
Paula Evans, Head Nurse of Children and Young People at Derriford, said: “I want to thank each and every one of the players who came along today. Every year they come up to the hospital and bring so many lovely presents for the children who are with us at this time of year. I want to pass my heartfelt thanks on to them from myself, all the staff working here and our patients and their families.”
Everyone at Argyle would like to wish the patients and families at Derriford, as well as the inspirational and hardworking staff, a very merry Christmas, and a healthy and prosperous 2014.