Pompey players put a smile on QA patients' faces with visit

POMPEY players brought a little bit of festive joy to people who will spend Christmas in hospital.

Wednesday, 14th December 2016, 5:55 am
Updated Wednesday, 14th December 2016, 1:39 pm
From left, Nelson the mascot, Pompey's Gary Roberts, and Jude Allen, six, at Queen Alexandra Hospital in Cosham

The players and manager Paul Cook visited Queen Alexandra Hospital to pose for pictures, sign autographs and give out presents.

Patients on the paediatric ward were excited to meet the likes of Christian Burgess, Conor Chaplin and Pompey mascot Nelson.

Big fan Jude Allen was over the moon to meet his favourite player Gary Roberts.

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From left, Nelson the mascot, Pompey's Gary Roberts, and Jude Allen, six, at Queen Alexandra Hospital in Cosham

The six-year-old is waiting for a five-organ transplant as he has intestinal failure.

His mum Kellie, from Cowplain, said QA Hospital is a second home and it was amazing for him to meet the Pompey team.

Jude said: ‘It was really cool. It has been nice to meet them and see them.

‘My favourite player is Gary Roberts and I spoke to him lots.’

Patient Sydney Baker with Pompey players, from left, Enda Stevens, Amine Linganzi and Christian Burgess Picture: Ellie Pilmoor

Kellie added: ‘Jude is a big Pompey fan and it was brilliant for him and his brother Oscar to meet the players.

‘It’s a wonderful thing for the hospital and the club to do.’

Five-year-old Louie Mantel, from Bognor Regis, met the team with his mum Sarah. He was in hospital for an operation on his tonsils.

Sarah said: ‘It was really nice for him.

From left, Nelson the mascot, Pompey's Gary Roberts, and Jude Allen, six, at Queen Alexandra Hospital in Cosham

‘We were thinking of putting the operation off because of the festive season but this visit has been lovely.’

As well as visiting the children, the players also went to the older persons ward.

While there, they were given mince pies made by the patients and played a game similar to bowls.

Pompey fan Sydney Baker, 85, enjoyed talking about football with the team.

Patient Sydney Baker with Pompey players, from left, Enda Stevens, Amine Linganzi and Christian Burgess Picture: Ellie Pilmoor

He said: ‘I follow the team and it was nice to meet them. They were a lovely bunch.’

Paul Cook said it was humbling for the players to meet people staying in hospital over Christmas.

‘These visits bring so much happiness to the kids and their parents,’ he said.

‘We can take so much for granted and when you see these people in hospital, it is humbling.’

Winger Milan Lalkovic agreed. He said: ‘We should be doing something like this every year. It makes such a difference for these kids.’

And midfielder Kyle Bennett added: ‘It is good for the kids and their families to look forward to. Hopefully we put a smile on their faces.’