Portsmouth stars bring Nelson teddies and signed footballs as they visit Hampshire children's hospice

A TRIO of Pompey stars took time to meet youngsters with life-limiting illnesses and their families ahead of Christmas as they visited a hospice for children and young adults.

Thursday, 19th December 2019, 11:00 am
Updated Friday, 20th December 2019, 3:30 pm
Portsmouth players John Marquis, Christian Burgess and Brett Pitman with a girl staying at Naomi House and Jacksplace. Picture: Naomi House and Jacksplace

John Marquis, Christian Burgess and Brett Pitman were bearing gifts as they arrived at Naomi House and Jacksplace near Winchester on Monday.

The players gave each child a cuddly doll of Nelson, Portsmouth Football Club’s mascot, and a football signed by the Fratton Park squad.

John and Brett even helped one youngster, Liam Farrenden, who is registered blind, master keepie-uppies from his wheelchair in the hospice garden.

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A fun match followed, which saw children staying at the hospice and their loved ones take the players on, winning 11-4.

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Huw Bromage, activities team leader at Naomi House and Jacksplace, said: ‘Christmas really is a treasured time at Naomi House and Jacksplace – there’s so much festive fun for the children and young adults to get stuck into.

‘We love it when Portsmouth FC come and visit us and the children and young adults are always so excited to try and beat them at their own game, which it seems this year, they did.

‘The signed football and little bear mascots they brought to gift the children with were so generous and we can’t thank them enough for taking the time to visit us again this year, it’s a tradition we hope continues.

‘Thanks again to Brett, John and Christian. Good luck for the season.’

Pompey’s traditional visit to Naomi House and Jacksplace ended with photo opportunities in front of the hospice’s Christmas tree in the lounge.

The hospice plans a host of activities for children to enjoy throughout December, including Christmas parties, decoration-making workshops and visits from Santa Claus.

As many as 600 families in the south benefit from the hospice’s respite, emergency and end-of-life care.

The site was recently refurbished and has 11 children’s bedrooms, multiple family rooms and spaces for art and music therapy, as well as a

multi-sensory room and a hydrotherapy pool.