Elderly patients at Walsall Manor Hospital had a ball with footballing stars of the future who popped in to bring some Christmas cheer.
As well as proving a tonic for patients, the young players from Aston Villa’s scholarship programme helped out on Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust’s Well Wishers charity stall and joined the Older People’s Mental Health team for a tea party in the main atrium of the Manor Hospital.
And the year two scholars also presented Well Wishers with a cheque for £600.
Georgie Westley, Fundraising Manager for Walsall Healthcare, said: “Our patients absolutely loved their visit last Wednesday.
“We’d got some Aston Villa fans on the wards so the visit was extra special for them but the lads also enjoyed some banter with West Brom and Wolves fans and a Rangers supporter as well. Many of our patients warned them against sliding tackles, urging them to take care of their knees and one gentleman also told them to make sure they didn’t end up drinking too much or taking drugs!
“The Academy players who looked after our tombola stall did a great trade and our tea party proved really popular with our patients who enjoyed a cuppa and some cake. Funds raised for our stroke rehab unit and the tombola came to £153.
“I’d like to thank the programme for supporting the trust in this way because the visit really cheered our patients up.”
Christine Allen Lloyd, host family co-ordinator, said the visit had also benefitted the players as it helped their confidence grow and gave them an opportunity to speak to people from all walks of life.
“Contributing towards communities is an important element of the scholarship programme to keep players grounded and to help them appreciate the opportunities they have been given,” she said.
“The visit went really well and we were also pleased to hand over the cheque which can help patients in some way. I think the lads got a lot out of this experience and they really enjoyed talking to the patients.”