Christmas came early for young patients at The Children’s Hospital, Sheffield, when Owls players spread festive cheer on their annual visit.
The SWFC squad along with first team coach Stuart Gray met children on the hospital wards and gave them a bedside boost, handing out goodie bags filled with cuddly toys and calendars.
Players were accompanied by The Children’s Hospital Charity, who gave a tour of the facility and introduced them to some of the brave children who will spend Christmas in hospital.
Young patient and Owls fan Leona McMillan, who is being treated on the S1 ward, was delighted to see the players as her grandad Dougie McMillan played for the club back in the 1950s.
Goalkeeper Chris Kirkland and midfielder Giles Coke were among players who chatted with the six-year-old, who has been staying in the hospital since June after suffering intestinal failure.
Leona’s mum Jayne said her daughter, who now has to be fed through a tube, was extremely excited to meet the team.
“She was sat in her kit most of the day waiting for them to arrive; she was a mascot for Wednesday last season and has a picture of her with Michail Antonio on her hospital wall.
“We are hopefully going home next week so this was a real treat for her on one of her last days in hospital.”
Coke added: “It’s always great to visit to the Children’s Hospital, Sheffield and meet the young patients like Leona, who are all so brave, as well as seeing the wonderful work carried out by the staff.”
“No one wants to be in hospital, especially at Christmas time, so seeing the kids smiling and laughing, even though they are having a difficult time, is a very rewarding experience.”
David Vernon-Edwards, Director at The Children’s Hospital Charity, thanked the team for a fantastic afternoon and taking time out of their busy Christmas schedule to visit the patients.
He commented: “To see the excitement on the children’s faces as the Sheffield Wednesday team made their way from ward to ward was quite overwhelming, and certainly helped to put everyone in the festive spirit.
“As a charity we receive a huge amount of support throughout the year, thanks to the volunteers and fundraisers who commit time and time again to making things better, but it’s also great to receive support in other ways - so a massive thank you to the Owls players and management team who came to see us all this Christmas.”