Poorly children were given an early Christmas surprise as Burnley Football Club paid them a visit.
Armed with gifts the entire first team squad took time out from training on Monday to visit the youngsters in the Children’s ward at Royal Blackburn Hospital.
The team were also joined by their manager Sean Dyche and colleagues from the Asda store in Burnley, who kindly donated and wrapped all the presents for the children.
Burnley manager Sean Dyche said: “The community links are important to us and they are only enhanced at this time of year and particularly with children.
“Nobody wants children to be unwell, but particularly at Christmas and if we can just put a few smiles on faces, then it’s all worthwhile.”
Danny Ings is joined by Asda representatives as he hands out gifts
Michelle Holmes, community life champion at Asda Burnley, added: “We wanted to make their Christmas as special as possible and it was lovely to bring some festive cheer to the young patients.”
The players held a collection to raise cash for presents and Asda also made a generous donation to ensure the players stocked themselves with an abundance of presents and club merchandise to the delight of children young and old on the ward.
Clarets midfielder Matty Taylor, who has three children of his own, added: “It’s a pleasure to come along and see the children and give them a little pleasure at a tough and worrying time.
“They are ultimately the future, so for us to come along is important. We are not one of the massive clubs in the Premier League, but we are at the heart of the community and any relationships we have we want to keep strong.
And Clarets keeper Tom Heaton, who became a dad himself for the first time this year, added: “It’s nice not only to see the kids, but also the parents who are feeling the stress. It’s tough and as a parent I can totally empathise.
“I spoke to one mother whose baby had open heart surgery and bronchiolitis, but thankfully he is on the mend and there are plenty other stories here that make the visit worthwhile, if only to listen and try and offer support.”
Burnley Football Club would like to thank Asda, Burnley for their kind and generous contribution to the annual hospital visit.