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Baggies players play Santa!

13 December 2012

Club make first hospital visit of festive season

ALBION players today brought some festive cheer to the children's wards at Sandwell General Hospital.

First-team squad members joined forces with the club to buy an array of presents and Jonas Olsson, James Morrison, Zoltan Gera, Goran Popov and Boaz Myhill dropped by to deliver them to the young patients.

They were joined at Sandwell General by club mascots BaggieBird and Albi, plus Father Christmas, and the hospital was also presented with a flat screen TV, kindly donated by Apollo 2000.

For midfielder Gera, the club’s festive hospital visits are especially poignant.

“It’s nice to come and see the children,” he said.

“I went through a difficult period when my daughter Hanna was in hospital three years ago when she was three months old. That was tough but she was okay after a few days.

“But having children in hospital around Christmas time is difficult. You don’t know how long they are going to be in. The parents also have to stay in and everyone just wants to get home.

“It’s not a nice feeling but if we can help get them smiling by giving out presents, it’s good for the children.”

Centre-half Olsson said: “I always enjoy making the hospital visits. They put everything into perspective.

“As players, we make several club appearances throughout the year but this is one we all look forward to and appreciate.”

The club teamed up with Sandwell Hospital's children's wards and communications team to make the visit possible.

For the sixth year running, Albion have extended their annual hospital visit to two sites. Next Wednesday, members of the first-team squad will also visit Russells Hall Hospital, Dudley.

Albion chief executive, Mark Jenkins, said: "Sandwell General is the nearest hospital to The Hawthorns and provides a great service to many West Bromwich Albion supporters.

“We were delighted to make provision for the players to visit the patients and hard-working staff today.

“Christmas is an extremely difficult time of year for children to be in hospital and I hope the players’ visit helped boost the morale of the young patients and their families.” 

Sandwell General nursery nurse, Wendy Moore, said: “The Albion players visit us every year, bringing presents for our young patients. 

“It is wonderful that they are able to raise the spirits of children who are in hospital at this festive time.

“They bring lots of smiles and cheer to the wards, especially near Christmas time when children are feeling down about being in hospital.

“The children and their parents love meeting the players and having their photograph taken with them."

PIC: HE'S A ZOLLY GOOD FELLOW...Gera with young patient Aliyah Kauser, aged six

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