Christmas cheer at hospital

Christmas cheer was all around as West Ham United's players paid a visit to King George Hospital.

Captain Kevin Nolan led the way as Robert Green, Jack Collison, James Tomkins, Matt Taylor, Sam Baldock, Henri Lansbury, Julien Faubert, Freddie Sears and Ruud Boffin met with young children in the Clover Ward at the Goodmayes hospital.

The players handed out goody bags and spent time with the youngsters, who are all having to spend time on the ward over the holidays due to illness or conditions that need a little bit of extra care.

Parents and families and the players spent time chatting to them too, with lots of photos and autographs being taken and written.

As well as the patients, all the players made sure that they met with the hard-working nurses, doctors and all staff from the ward.

Matt Taylor, a father-of-three himself, said: "We have loved meeting everyone here - the children who are being brave about being in hospital and their parents for whom it is a worrying time. Hopefully we have helped to give them a boost. It is very important for us to make visits like this, you know because it doesn't cost anything to make someone smile."

While the goody bags, which included footballs, teddy bears, hats and several other items were received with delight, the players also made a special presentation.

Skipper Nolan handed over a present of money collected by the players themselves, which is set to be used to benefit everyone connected with Clover Ward. A similar donation was made at the other Christmas visit made to Richard House children's hospice in Beckton.

Ward manager Ann Honey said: "We were absolutely thrilled to bits with the money - we are hoping to do a bit of re-painting and generally make the ward brighter for our young patients.

"We are hoping to put up different bits and pieces on the walls, stickers that have positive quotes and lots of colour as well, all to make it that bit better. We are also short on toys so we will be using the money for this as well."

She added: "I thought the players were a great group of lads and good role models for our young patients, they were very good with everyone - we thank them so much for visiting and for their generosity and time."

Nolan said: "It was good to be here, to meet the children and give them our time more than anything else. Also to meet the staff, who are all incredible and work so hard. It means a lot to us we can do this.

"Despite how difficult it is to be in here for the kids, the staff try to make it as best they can for them. We hope that everyone enjoyed the visit as much as we did."