Footballers serve up Christmas cheer

THEIR alarming losing streak has left fans with little to shout about.

But Ipswich Town players did manage to spread some cheer - bringing festive joy to youngsters across the region.

Footballers dropped in on hospital children’s wards in Bury St Edmunds, Ipswich and Colchester.

Town players dug into their own pockets to the tune of �2,000 to fund extra presents for the sick children.

As well as Ipswich Town souvenirs youngsters received toys, mini camcorders and CD and DVD players.

They also visited St Nicholas Hospice, Bury St Edmunds, and The Chantry Care Centre, Ipswich.

Camille Berriman, press officer for St Nicholas, expressed delight at yesterday’s visit of Tommy Smith, Andros Townsend, Jaime Peters and Shane O’Connor.

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“Everyone had a really great time,” she said. “It was really good to see the children talking to the players.

“And we had a die-hard fan - one of our volunteers - and she was over the moon to see them.”

Meanwhile star youngster Connor Wickham, Colin Healy and Jake Livermore were among the players that delighted youngsters at Ipswich Hospital.

Jan Rowsell, a spokeswoman for the hospital, said: “The children were delighted to see their favourite footballers and the visit went extremely well.

“The warmth and kindness of our community is something very much appreciated by the hospital.”

Mark Prentice, spokesman for Colchester Hospital, said it welcomed four Ipswich players to its children’s ward. One of them, defender Tom Eastman, was even born at the hospital.

Mr Prentice added: “Children do love presents and young boys in particular love footballers, so if you can combine them both it does bring some joy into their lives at what is a difficult time.”

Four other Town stars dropped in on residents at The Chantry in Ipswich, a care centre for adults with brain injuries and one of the football club’s nominated charities for the 2010/11 season.

Mark Kennedy, Darren O’Dea, Brian Murphy and Rory Fallon met residents, posed for photographs and handed out presents.

Dawne Hart, area fundraising manager at the centre, said: “I think it meant the world to the residents.”

Club captain David Norris said: “The visits to the local hospitals and hospices at Christmas are an important part of our build up to the festive season and being able to take gifts in to the children and adults we’re visiting is really rewarding.

“Being in hospital is never fun and especially so at this time of year. These visits give us the chance of helping to put a smile back on the faces of the children in the wards and showing our appreciation for the hard-working nurses and carers.”

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