West Ham players bring the festive spirit to local children’s hospice

Published: December 13, 2018

West Ham players Andy Carroll, Javier Hernández, Felipe Anderson and Winston Reid joined mascots Bubbles and Hammerhead to bring festive cheer to the life-limited children at Richard House Children’s Hospice in Beckton.

Each player took the time to speak to and get to know the families and have their photos taken with them, much to everyone’s delight. The children made sparkly photo frames and other gifts for the players who were genuinely touched by this.

Alexis Hunt, 5, comes to Richard House for respite care, giving her mum a chance to rest and recuperate so she is refreshed and ready to care for Alexis again. Kelly, mum of Alexis who has a tube in her windpipe (trachea) to help her breathe, said

Coming here today and meeting the players was amazing, just amazing. It is something Alexis will remember and smile about for a very long time.

Javier Hernandez said

It is great to see so many happy faces and to be able to come down here and give out gifts to the children and families. The main thing in life is to enjoy it as much as possible, these children and families are all enjoying each other’s company that is clear to see. If we can make any small difference, then all the players are really happy to do that.

The players gave out amazing gift bags to very happy children and their siblings which were full of West Ham merchandise.

Felipe Anderson, the in-form West Ham United attacker, said

This is my first visit to Richard House after signing in the summer, but what has really struck me is the warmth and care from the staff. Also the children have been happy and laughing all day, and this is certainly a humbling experience that I will never forget.

Kirsty Blair, Head of Care at Richard House, said

When a child is diagnosed with a serious life limiting condition, the whole family is thrown into turmoil. We are here to support them through these difficult times, and continue to do so even after their child has died. A memory like meeting a player from West Ham is priceless.

From the moment a child is diagnosed with a life-limiting or life-threatening condition, everything changes. And these changes affect the whole family, which is why it is vital to provide not only care to the child, but support to the whole family as well. To do this Richard House services range from specialised clinical care, to art, music, and dance therapy; giving the child the opportunity to explore what is happening to them in a safe environment, through to end of life care and pre and post bereavement support for all the family.

Richard House relies heavily on the generosity of donors to carry out their vital work for seriously ill children and their families and this year need to raise £3.5 million. To support Richard House to continue to be there for seriously ill children in East London please go to richardhouse.org.uk/donate.