Football stars have visited hospitals in Buckinghamshire to spread festive cheer to young patients. 

Children at Stoke Mandeville and Wycombe hospitals received surprise gifts from past and present footballers.

Former Wycombe Wanderers players and chair of Academia Technology Group Andrew Harman donated 700 gifts to the children and their families as part of the annual Christmas tradition.

This year he had help from the current ‘Chairboys’ Tjay De Barr and Jasper Pattenden to hand out the gifts at the Wycombe Hospital’s children’s ward on Monday (December 18).

Andrew said: “It’s always a pleasure for us to visit the hospitals and deliver presents for children and families who may miss out on some of the enjoyment that Christmas brings by being in and out of hospital over the festive period.

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 “It’s a small token of our consideration for the challenges they are going through and each year we want to do something a little bit special to bring a smile to their faces.

 “We also feel it’s important to thank the staff who do a wonderful job caring for their patients and their families, not just over Christmas but all year round.”

Jasper said the players “thoroughly enjoyed” spending time with the children during the visit, which was his first time at the hospital.

“Thank you to Andrew and the hospital for inviting us along and we look forward to seeing plenty of the staff and the children and their families at Adams Park on New Year’s Day,” he added.

The players spent time talking to the youngsters, playing games and taking photos.

As a cherry on top, Wycombe Wanderers donated match tickets to patients and staff for the game against Bristol Rovers at Adams Park on New Year’s Day.

Chief nurse of Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust Karen Bonner said the visit brought “Christmas joy to your young patients and to the staff” in the ward.

She continued: “It’s always an absolute pleasure to welcome Andrew and Wycombe Wanderers to the Trust – the relationship goes back many years. We are very grateful to the players and to Andrew and the team from Academia for their time and generosity.