Cricketers’s toys donation puts smiles on the faces of children at QA Hospital

(left to right) Hampshire cricketers Liam Dawson (left) and Sean Ervine with  Alfie Heslop (10) from Leigh Park''''Picture: Malcolm Wells (133537-4181)
(left to right) Hampshire cricketers Liam Dawson (left) and Sean Ervine with Alfie Heslop (10) from Leigh Park''''Picture: Malcolm Wells (133537-4181)

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BEING stuck in hospital over Christmas can leave patients feeling less than festive.

So that’s why players from Hampshire Cricket Club donated toys to children in Queen Alexandra Hospital, in Cosham.

Players Liam Dawson and Sean Ervine paid a visit to the Starfish and Shipwreck wards and gave presents to unwell boys and girls.

Among the children was Alfie Heslop, 10, who hopes to go home tomorrow.

Alfie suffers from a condition called Perthes disease, where blood supply is lost to the hip joint, causing it to become mis-shapen.

Although he was cleared of the condition four years ago, it recently came back.

Alfie was given a toy car as a gift.

He said: ‘It was a really cool gift and I love it because I am into cars.

‘It’s not fun being stuck in hospital on your own all day, so the visit really cheered me up.

‘I’m hoping to go home tomorrow, after staying for nine days.’

Emily Blackburn, the community education officer for the Hampshire Cricket Community Trust, organised the toy donation.

She said: ‘We told all the players, staff and members of the club to donate toys and books for children aged up to 16.

‘And the toys really did come in – we collected about 60 items.

‘We had a range of things, from books, to dolls, puzzles, and games.

‘We tried to get things that could be played in bed.’

As well as getting the toys, children also had their pictures taken with the cricket players.

All-rounder Liam said: ‘This time of year you don’t want to see children in hospital, and Christmas is all about them really. To come in and put a smile on their faces is a lovely thing to do.

‘It’s not great for the children, or their families, so if we can come in and put a smile on their face then it’s great.’

The Christmas gesture was appreciated by staff at QA.

Play specialist Anne Ricketts said: ‘Some of the children can be in here for a long time because they are unwell, or because of an operation.

‘We play with them, but it’s always nice to have outside visitors in.’