All smiles as Pompey players visit QA Hospital

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PATIENTS at Queen Alexandra Hospital were given a treat visit from the Pompey squad today.

The players and manager Kenny Jackett visited the Cosham site to give out presents, pose for pictures and sign autographs. The group met children in the paediatric department and the older patients on F ward.

Football fan Harvey Elliss, from Havant, was over the moon to meet the squad. He was in QA Hospital after injuring his arm while playing football.

The 12-year-old said: ‘Seeing the players was really good. It made me happy and I didn’t expect to get a visit like this while in hospital.

‘I play for the Pompey under-12s squad so it was great chatting to the team.’

His mum Lorraine added: ‘It is fantastic for the club and the hospital to organise the visit.

Gareth Evans, Kal Naismith, Luke McGee and Jez Bedford with Ben Morris, six  'Picture: Ian Hargreaves (171697-1)

Gareth Evans, Kal Naismith, Luke McGee and Jez Bedford with Ben Morris, six 'Picture: Ian Hargreaves (171697-1)

‘Harvey was gutted when he hurt his arm as he cannot play football for a few weeks so this has been a nice treat.’

Ben Morris, from Bedhampton, was all smiles when he was given a present from the players. The six-year-old said: ‘It was good speaking to them. I liked my present and getting their autographs.’

Mum Janet added: ‘He had an operation scheduled just as the players showed up so it was great for him to see them before having it done.’

The older patients at QA Hospital also enjoyed the visit and talking to the players about their memories of Pompey.

It is fantastic for the club and the hospital to organise the visit.

Lorraine Elliss

Brian Hyde, 85, used to go to Fratton Park to watch the club in the 1970s.

He said: ‘It’s great meeting the players and speaking to them. I am a big Pompey fan and used to love watching them play. Footballers are great people and these visits show how much they care.’

As well as signing autographs and handing out presents, the players also spoke to the patients about their plans for Christmas, what their interests are and how long they will be in hospital.

Midfielder Gareth Evans said: ‘It is great to meet some of the people in here and give something back just before Christmas. They always seems to enjoy the visits and talking to us.’

Kyle Bennett, Milan Lalkovic and Christian Burgess with Gillian Gage and her daughter Eleanor Gage, 12, from Petersfield.'Picture: Ian Hargreaves (171697-3)

Kyle Bennett, Milan Lalkovic and Christian Burgess with Gillian Gage and her daughter Eleanor Gage, 12, from Petersfield.'Picture: Ian Hargreaves (171697-3)

Winger Kyle Bennett added: ‘We get the whole squad to come along on these visits and the manager. We all like to get involved in the community and spending the afternoon with the patients.’

It was the first time striker Oliver Hawkins had visited the hospital. He said: ‘It is a good experience meeting the patients and giving them gifts.’

Ben Close and Theo Widdrington with Joan McEwan 'Picture: Ian Hargreaves (171697-6)

Ben Close and Theo Widdrington with Joan McEwan 'Picture: Ian Hargreaves (171697-6)