Leicester Tigers players spread festive cheer at children's hospital
Young hospital patients got to meet their rugby heroes yesterday when Leicester Tigers players visited the wards to spread some festive cheer.
A selection of the Tigers' squad toured Leicester Children's Hospital at the infirmary and the children's cardiac wards at Glenfield Hospital to hand out gifts, sign autographs and pose for photographs.
Club captain Geordan Murphy said the players enjoyed the opportunity to meet the youngsters.
He visited Leicester Children's Hospital, based at the infirmary, with England forward Geoff Parling and front rower Boris Stankovich.
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Patient Marianna Capenhurst, 15, from Knighton, had her picture taken with the players.
She said: "I came in for treatment and no-one told me the Tigers would be visiting. It's something I didn't expect!
"It was great to meet them and they gave me a Tigers pen."
Club supporter Anna Price, from Quorn, was delighted that her three-year-old daughter, Eloise, had a chance meet the players.
"Our company sponsors the Tigers and Eloise has been raised in a household that loves rugby and she loves to shout at the telly," said Mrs Price.
"It was lovely to see her with the players."
Lauren Davies, nine, from Loughborough also met the players and was given a selection of gifts.
Her dad, Terry, said: "It's great that the players can take time off like this and spend time with the children in the wards."
Geordan Murphy said: "Christmas is a very special time for everyone, especially for young children and their families.
"Many of the Tigers players have young families of their own and we all appreciate how difficult it can be if children have to spend any time in hospital at this time of year.
"We hope that we can help bring some festive cheer and a few smiles for the children who are facing Christmas in our local hospitals."
Geoff Parling, who played in England's historic win over the New Zealand All Blacks last weekend, said: "It's something we like to do – to meet the children and give away a few little gifts gives us a lift and I hope it does the same for the children and their families."
Boris also said he enjoyed meeting the youngsters and signing autographs.
Sally Markley, play co-ordinator at Leicester Children's Hospital, said: "We're delighted that Leicester Tigers took time out of their busy schedule to spend time with the children so close to Christmas. It's a really special time for the children when they meet the players bringing plenty of smiles to the wards."
Another group of players toured the children's cardiac wards at Glenfield.