West Ham players bring Christmas cheer to sick youngsters
PUBLISHED: 17:00 16 December 2019
West Ham players have brought some Christmas cheer to young patients at Newham University Hospital.
First team stars Pablo Fornals, Manuel Lanzini, Roberto, Ben Johnson and Goncarlo Cardoso were joined by academy players Peter Stroud and Anouar Mhassani on the visit to the Glen Road, Plaistow hospital's Rainbow Centre.
The group spoke with patients, parents and staff and handed out West Ham goody bags to sick youngsters including Aaron Singh, who has a condition called neutropenia.
His mum Maria Palton said: "You don't expect when you bring your ill child in that you're going to get a visit from a Premier League team.
"The players and the gift really lifted Aaron's spirits and he'll be telling everyone at school."
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The visit was part of the Players' Project, a club initiative which sees first team players become ambassadors for an area of community work, and organised in partnership with Barts Charity.
Midfielder Fornals said: "It's good for us, and it is good for the families, to know that West Ham is with them. Christmas is the best moment for us to come and meet with families and show our support.
"These boys and girls are here in not their best moment and if we come here with happy things, it is good for them. It's a little thing we can do and there are a lot of gifts for the children and I think that they are enjoying them."
Defender Johnson added: "It's phenomenal to see how taking a few hours out of our day can be so important to other families and people who are in the hospital.
"The money going into the Players' Project is increasing and it's becoming a big, big thing. There is so much more that the club does than just playing on a Saturday, and we are trying to do more to bring us closer to the community."
Ward manager Jo Bakah thanked the players for visiting, adding: "It's winter and we've got some quite sick children here but the players put smiles on the children's faces."