Preston North End spread festive cheer throughout the Royal Preston Hospital when they made their annual visit to the children’s ward.
Manager Simon Grayson and the majority of Preston’s first team stopped by, bearing gifts, to chat to sick children and their parents.
PNE fan Dylan Timbrell suffers from epileptic fits, and the 12-year-old was admitted to the children’s ward on Wednesday night.
He said: “It was so exciting. I’ve just met Will Hayhurst who is my favourite player. He’s a top footballer and his auntie lives at the end of our road.”
His mum 33-year-old Janet Timbrell said: “He hasn’t been able to sit still since the news, he’s been so excited and he has had such a great day.
“He had a fit last year but just missed out on meeting the players, and he leaves hospital today so it has been the best Christmas present ever!”
The players handed out goodie bags featuring club memorabilia and handed over two i-Pads to the ward.
Karen Seed, play leader in the play team at the children’s ward in the hospital, said: “We asked i-Pads instead of toys as they are necessary for our distraction and preparation techniques.
“When the children are having injections, we use them to distract the child from the pain and to make their hospital experience better.”
North End are preparing to play Brentford at Deepdale on Saturday, but Kevin Davies feels the hospital visit puts everything in perspective.
He said: “I myself have been in and out of hospital over the years with my own kids so my heart goes out to the parents and the children.
“This is my first visit to Preston hospital and we’ve had a good response from the kids. But also from the parents, they have spent a lot of nights in here constantly worried about their children and there is nothing worse than worrying about your child’s health.
“So it is nice to see some of the dads and the mums and have a chat about football with them to try and take their minds off it.”
Captain John Welsh said: “We met a Preston fan before who was really nice, he was made up with the present we gave him, but we also met a Man United fan, we had a joke with him about how they played the other day. It was nice to see them smile which is what Christmas is all about.