To spread Christmas cheer, members of Everton’s Men’s Senior Team paid two local children’s hospices an emotional visit last week.
A few members of Sean Dyche’s squad visited Alder Hey Children’s Hospital for the occasion, but a few players made alternative arrangements to ensure that the children of Claire House and Zoe’s Place did not miss out.
Zoe’s Place Baby Hospice in West Derby, which specialises in providing assistance to young children aged one to five years with life-limiting or life-threatening complex illnesses, profound disabilities and various diagnoses, was visited by Jarrad Branthwaite and Ben Godfrey.
Arnaut Danjuma, Dele Alli, and Michael Keane were delighted to visit the nearby Claire House Children’s Hospice, an organisation dedicated to promoting the quality of life for children who are gravely ill or terminally ill.
In addition to emotional support, both facilities offer specialised nursing and palliative care to families during some of the most difficult times of their lives.
“It’s definitely something special to come here and see the smiles on faces. I love doing this every Christmas.”
“I think the club shows every year that we have that family feel and they encourage things like this. The lads are always happy to do it and a special mention to all the staff, who should be really proud of themselves for all they do for the families and the kids. It’s very special.”
The players spent the afternoon at both facilities interacting with the children, their families, and staff. During this time, they signed autographs, presented gifts to the children, and presented a hamper to the staff. Additionally, gifts were presented to the siblings of the children in need.
Michelle Wignall, a parent of a young patient at Claire House, said:
“It’s been fabulous and the players have been amazing with the kids.
“Claire House is like a hug. You could have the worst days of your life and you just walk in and know that you are going to be cared for and loved.
Fellow parent Vicky Cunningham added:
“This is a day out for everyone and we all love it. The parents at Claire House get treated as well as the kids, so to come along and share in a special moment is amazing.
“We go through a lot of tough days, so to do something we all love with family and friends means the world.”