Christmas is the season of giving and the children staying at Queen’s Hospital were treated to an early present when they received a surprise visit from West Ham United players.
On Thursday 15 December, first-team stars Vladimír Coufal and Flynn Downes and Academy player Jacob Knightbridge helped spread festive cheer and spent time on our Tropical Lagoon and Tropical Bay children’s wards.
The players raised the spirits of the children staying with us, as they spent the afternoon chatting, handing out generous bags of gifts and having pictures taken with families and staff.
The visit was part of the club's Players’ Project, which sees players from the men’s, women’s and Academy teams regularly give their time to engage with individuals, groups and causes across the community.
West Ham United’s Vladimír Coufal said: “It was really amazing to visit Queen’s Hospital and make it a nice day for the children on the wards before Christmas. We gave them some gifts and wished them a Merry Christmas. You can see how much it means to the kids. It is difficult to describe their reaction, but they all were very happy to see us.
“I like to visit the children at the hospital because I have two kids and you can see how happy it makes the children. Being kind and graceful to others is part of the West Ham community. You can see how grateful the children are to see us when we visit. It was great to see some West Ham fans too.”
One of the lucky children to meet the players might not remember the experience in years to come…but her family certainly will!
Seven-month-old Edith comes from a family of Hammers and when her parents knew about the visit, they rushed to make sure she was ready and waiting in her West Ham baby grow.
Edith’s dad, Ritchie Hayden, said: “We’ve been here since Sunday but we’re going home today and the visit from the club was a really nice end to a tough few days.
“The players were really nice and very down to earth; they spent a lot of time with us and the other children. My father-in-law is a big West Ham fan and a season ticket holder, so we took some nice photos for him.”
Our Chief Executive Matthew Trainer said: “I’m delighted that the children staying with us could have a special visit to help raise their spirits, at a difficult time of year to be in hospital.
“I’d like to thank West Ham United for visiting us and for their continued support throughout 2022. The club is a huge part of our community, and we value the close relationship we have.”
We’ve worked closely with West Ham United on various projects, including surprise visits during our staff ‘thank you’ events, last season’s kit launch, a nutrition webinar for our staff and a special trip to the club’s training ground.