West Ham stars visit Richard House Children’s Hospice

PUBLISHED: 07:00 18 December 2015

Mark Noble signs a shirt for a young fan

Mark Noble signs a shirt for a young fan

Elina Kanela

Any football fan knows the Christmas schedule is hectic.

Enner Valencia gets craftyEnner Valencia gets crafty

But that didn’t stop three West Ham stars from taking time out to visit Richard House Children’s Hospice.

Mark Noble, Enner Valencia and Joey O’Brien brought a few festive goodies along with them and even signed autographs for their young fans.

Staff at the Beckton hospice were praised by midfielder Noble, who is a Richard House patron, during Wednesday’s visit.

“I always say it, but the staff here, to look after the kids and the families the way they do is phenomenal,” he said.

Enner Valencia, Mark Noble and Joey O'Brien with staff and youngsters at Richard HouseEnner Valencia, Mark Noble and Joey O'Brien with staff and youngsters at Richard House

“When you’re at places like this football takes a backward step because you realise how lucky you are to be able to go out on the pitch, run around, laugh and enjoy football, when 90 per cent of the kids here can’t even get out of the chairs they’re in.”

Noble has supported the hospice for several years and even asked for donations to the charity instead of presents when he got married in 2012.

While they might be best known for their skills with a ball, the trio showed they weren’t bad at arts and crafts either.

Hammers captain Noble helped one young girl with her drawing, while another youngster will have a very special Christmas card this year, designed by Ecuadorian international Valencia.

Mark Noble joins in with activities at the hospiceMark Noble joins in with activities at the hospice

O’Brien, meanwhile, joined in with computer games.

The footballers proved a huge hit with the youngsters, many of whom have life-limiting conditions.

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