Derby County players 'humbled' by festive visit to sick youngsters in hospital
CHRISTMAS came early for poorly youngsters at the Derbyshire Children's Hospital when Derby County players paid a surprise visit.
The whole squad met patients at their bedsides and in the main reception where they were getting into the festive spirit making Christmas cards.
Rams fan Joshua Dalby, five, has cystic fibrosis and has been in hospital almost a week.
He was given a Rammie teddy by the players and said he loved meeting them.
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He said: "It's exciting to see all the players in my room. My brother, Callum, who's 15, will be really jealous I've got to meet them.
"I'm looking forward to Christmas and I'm hoping to be at home for Christmas. I've been a good boy this year and I've asked for a Micky Mouse night light.
"But I've got my Rammie toy to play with now, while I wait for Santa."
The Derby County players also met Amelie Turner, an eight-year-old girl who has severe asthma.
Amelie said: "I came into hospital yesterday to get my asthma under control. It gets really bad in the winter months.
"I only found out that the players were coming earlier in the morning. It was a surprise.
"I'm really pleased I got to meet them all and speak to them. My grandma is a really big Derby County fan – she goes each week.
"My brother Leo, who's six, will also be really jealous. It's been a nice surprise while I've been in hospital."
Sarah Carter was visiting the hospital with her daughter Maddie, eight, and they joined in the craft activities.
Sarah said: "We were just came in for an eye test today at the Ronnie Mackeith child development centre and saw all the commotion going on.
"Maddie loves to make things. She's very creative. She's making a Christmas card for her dad, he's a big Derby County fan and will be very jealous we're here meeting some of the players."
Striker Conor Sammon was one of the players visiting Joshua and Amelie.
He said: "Coming to visit the hospital is amazing and I think it's so important that it is something we do as a club.
"We work in partnership with the hospital and to make an appearance and talk to some of the patients – some who have been in hospital for a long time – is just a little token that we all can do.
"It's just a small bit of our time to put a big smile on the faces of some very poorly little ones and their parents at what must be a really difficult time of year."
Rams defender and captain Richard Keogh said that it was humbling and rewarding to visit the hospital wards.
He said: "Christmas is a special time of year and for some families it has to be spent in hospital.
"Many people we meet are big Rams fans and we like to show that we are a member of the community.
"We have some great fans and it's great for us to be able to visit and put a smile on the children's faces."