There were smiles all round when footballers from Bolton Wanderers dropped into Derian House Children’s Hospice to deliver sacks filled with toys and goodies.
Players from the first team – Dion Charles, Jack Iredale, Zac Ashworth, George Thomason and Kyle Dempsey – toured the Chorley hospice handing out gifts and chatting to families and staff.
The footballers couldn’t hide their competitive side when they played games of FIFA on the X-box with a group of youngsters who come to the hospice.
Football fan, Junior Willoughby, 15, waited at the hospice doors to greet the players as they arrived yesterday afternoon (Tuesday, 19 December),
Junior, who has been visiting Derian House for respites stays for 11 years, said: “It was great to meet the Bolton Wanderers. I was happy to be there, they are great players. It’s good that they came to see what Derian is like. Derian is fun and I really like being here.”
The players made sure Junior was kitted out in some Bolton Wanderers gear (covering up his Liverpool FC shirt!) as they posed for a photo together on the hospice front steps.
Matt Craddock, First Team Coach of Bolton Wanderers FC, also came along for the afternoon.
He said: “Places like Derian House are full of amazing people – the kids and staff. To visit Derian has been a humbling experience for us – all of the lads have said the same. And to be able to give back to what is a fantastic initiative is brilliant.
“Derian House is such a positive place. The building itself is so colourful, warm and welcoming. The staff are so enthusiastic and it just spreads throughout the place. To hear some of the stories of what Derian does is just amazing.”
Karen Edwards OBE, Chief Executive of Derian House, said: “We’re so grateful to the Bolton Wanderers for taking time out of their busy schedules to visit us all at Derian House – and spend quality time here playing FIFA with our young people.
“The families were absolutely thrilled with their gifts and it means a lot to us to have their support this Christmas. From everyone here, we’d like to say a huge thank you.”
Derian House Children’s Hospice cares for more than 400 babies, children and young people as well as their families. The Chorley-based charity will cost £6million to run this year, and only receives a small percentage of this from funding.
Find out more: www.derianhouse.co.uk