Chester FC spread some festive cheer on a special visit to the Countess of Chester Hospital.
As Christmas draws closer The Chronicle and Big Yellow Self Storage Chester’s Toy Appeal is continuing to receive a flood of donations in time for the big day.
And this week Blues boss Jon McCarthy, assistant manager Chris Iwelumo and their staff and players helped deliver some of the gifts and toys already received to the children’s ward and neonatal unit at the Countess.
It is the third year running the club has teamed up with Big Yellow’s appeal to help under-privileged and sick children and their families receive a present ahead of Christmas Day.
Jeff Banks, business development manager at Big Yellow Self Storage said: “It was very, very humbling to see the faces of the children as they not only received a present, but also that it was delivered by a Chester FC player in a festive blue and white Santa outfit!
"Their eyes lit up when they saw Santa coming over with presents that had been donated to the Toy Appeal by the very generous Chronicle readers, as well as Chester fans and local businesses who have gone out of their way to ensure that the children have a gift to open whilst in hospital.
"It was also very pleasing to see the reaction of the new babies’ parents in the neonatal unit who were very touched by the gesture to have some presents donated to their little baby as well.
"It brings home to you just how lucky we are the way we live our lives and I’d like to wish everyone in the Countess of Chester Hospital, be it patient or staff, a very happy and peaceful Christmas.”
The Toy Appeal still has time to run before items donated are distributed to local charities such as Save the Family, Local Solutions and Cheshire Buddies.
Toys and gifts can be dropped off at various outlets including Chester FC, whose manager McCarthy thanked the efforts of the club's supporters so far.
The former Northern Ireland international, a father himself, said: "I knew the Chester fans would respond to the call to help those less fortunate than ourselves, and it was great to take the players down to the Countess where they visited the children and babies who were suffering from various illnesses.
"I know the players were extremely privileged to be able to help by delivering the presents to them and also sharing some time with them in the ward.”
Hanna Clarke, corporate events and fundraising manager at the Countess of Chester Hospital, added: "The fundraising team at the hospital are very grateful for the relationships they have with Big Yellow Self Storage and Chester FC, they are both big supporters of the Babygrow Appeal.
"It was fantastic to see so many of the Chester FC squad and staff taking time out of their day to pop along and visit both the children’s ward and the neonatal unit with gifts for the special babies and children the Countess of Chester Hospital looks after."
The Toy Appeal is still looking for new gifts and toys for children from babies up to those of 16 years of age.
They need to be unwrapped so the right gift can be selected for the chosen child.
Donations can be made at Big Yellow Self Storage (next to B&Q), Sealand Road, Chester CH1 4RN between the hours 8am-6pm Monday to Friday, 9am-6pm Saturday, and 10am-4pm Sunday.
There are also drop-off points at Royal Mail Chester, Jupiter Drive, Chester; Co-Op Westminster Park, Chester; and Chester FC’s Lookers Vauxhall Stadium.
The closing date for donations is Tuesday, December 20.