Patients of all ages got a real kick out of a very special group of visitors today when Walsall Football Club players popped on to the wards at the Manor Hospital.
Accompanied by manager Jon Whitney and Captain Adam Chambers, the sporting stars made time for young patients on the Ward 21 Paediatric Assessment Unit where they delivered presents before visiting elderly patients in the modular block. The club visits every year and once again proved a real tonic for patients and staff alike.
Birthday boy Corey Beecham was treated to a Walsall FC version of “Happy Birthday” which mum Dee said was a real treat for the six-year-old, who has had a chest infection.
She said “I honestly can’t thank the hospital enough, they’ve all looked after my little boy so well and this is a lovely treat for him on his birthday.
“We expected it to be a memorable one in the bad sense – with being ill – but now it’ll be something brilliant to look back on with the footballers coming to visit. A big thank you to them for making it special. “
Lisa Howell was with her son Brody Ramsden aged two, who had not long had a tonsillectomy and ear grommet inserted but was keen to meet mascot Swifty.
Lisa said: “It’s been really nice that the players have taken the time to visit us – I’m really impressed that they’ve made time in their busy schedules to support their local community.”
Fifteen-year-old Abbie Kempton was keen to take a selfie with keeper Mark Gillespie to share with her football-mad boyfriend who is also a goalkeeper for his college team.
“I think my boyfriend felt sorry for me being in hospital when actually he’d be really jealous of me getting to meet the players!”
The players also spent time with elderly patients who were thrilled to have a chat and enjoy some good natured banter.
Joyce Hands, aged 88, said: “They’re lovely young men and I wanted my picture taken with all of them! I used to be a dancer in my youth and I bet I was just as fit as them back in the day.”
While Jean Baldwin, 86, said: “I feel better already. It’s good of them to make the time for us because they must be busy.”
Doreen Morris spotted the players as she made her way to visit 84-year-old husband Gordon and asked them to pop in and see him as they’d met him on last year’s visit and it had really cheered him up.
Afterwards, Doreen said: “You’ve absolutely made his day. I can’t thank the team enough – it’s really put a smile on his face which is much needed after the tough couple of weeks he’s had.”
“We go to Banks’s Stadium for all our dos – we had our diamond wedding celebration there last year which was great!”
And when manager Jon asked the next big anniversary to look forward to she cheekily replied ‘ I think you need to focus on your own targets.”
Captain Adam Chambers said the visit had been enjoyed by all.
“It’s important to us to give back to our community and we like having a laugh and joke with the patients, some of them really kept us on our toes!”
Good luck to Walsall this weekend when they travel to Northampton.