A Claret and Blue Christmas

The West Ham United squad was divided this week with the players dispatched in different directions across a very wintry east London and south Essex.

It was time for the club's annual Christmas holiday visit but, rather than pick one deserving location, this time it was decided to reach many more needy kids by splitting up and covering three in the Hammers heartland - Richard House Children's Hospice in Beckton, King George hospital in Goodmayes and Basildon Hospital.

Cars loaded with West Ham goodie bags and specially-bought presents headed out with the players but the main aim was to bring some festive cheer to those facing a difficult Christmas. The squad, backed by the club, paid out of their own pockets, but the most precious gift was that of their time. Crucially, there was also support for those who give their lives to caring for others - whether staff or families.