West Ham footballers put smiles on children's faces at Newham University Hospital open day
PUBLISHED: 12:00 24 September 2019
Griffiths Photographers NO FREE USE
Children in the rainbow ward at Newham University Hospital had their day brightened by a visit from their football heroes.
West Ham players Jack Wilshere, Roberto, Andriy Yarmolenko, Pablo Zabaleta, Alfie Lewis and Louie Watson met some of the children in the ward and gave them presents as part of the hospital's open day on Wednesday.
Hammers midfielder Jack Wilshere said: "Since we launched the players' project last year, we're doing more things like this in the community.
"A few of the other boys are off doing other things, and we're happy to come here.
"It's good to see the kids - this is a West Ham area so there's a lot of West Ham fans - and if we can put a smile on their faces just for a couple of minutes, we're more than happy to do it."
Wilshere admitted the visit, which was a surprise to many of the children, was met with mixed reactions.
"They were buzzing. A few were a bit shocked, some were shy, but I think they were happy to see us," he said.
"Every kid loves football, it's a great way of bringing people together and bringing smiles to people's faces."
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The open day was an opportunity for the community to find out about the services the Glen Road, Plaistow hospital offers.
Staff ran informative and interactive stalls in marquees outside the hospital's west wing to showcase the work they do to help sick and injured people.
Community groups and organisations also hosted stalls and there was also entertainment throughout the day, including a performance from the New City Primary School choir.
Several councillors, including deputy mayor Charlene McLean, also attended.
Hospital deputy chief executive Deborah Madden said: "We had a great day and lots of local people came to support the hospital.
"All the staff were heavily involved in the event and everyone had been looking forward to it.
"We were really happy to have all the community involved."
She added the hospital was promoting fitness in the community among supporting other initiatives, such as the council's clean air hospital framework to reduce harm from pollution.
"Newham Hospital wants to support a healthier community and is very heavily involved with community support groups on that," she said.