Millwall FC stars ‘lift spirits’ at hospital bringing presents and Christmas cheer to patients

Millwall FC players visited a hospital to deliver Christmas cheer and gifts to sick babies, children and patients undergoing cancer treatment. 

Players and club staff brought sacks of presents for an afternoon playing Santa at University Hospital Lewisham on Tuesday.

Gifts included official club pennants, water bottles and Zampa soft toys – as well as the chance to take photos.

Left to right, Millwall FC players Matija Sarkic, Romain Esse, Billy Mitchell, Bartosz Bialkowski, Kevin Nisbet, Aidomo Emakhu with Suite 8 patient Joseph Tsangarides (Picture: Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust)

But the players were not the only ones giving gifts as a hospital worker treated them to a bespoke Millwall Christmas song.

First stop for the team was the children’s wards, where many young patients will be spending Christmas. Then the players met adult patients in the Suite 8 at UHL which specialises in cancer care.  

Joeseph Tsangarides, patient on Suite 8, said: “This visit really lifted my spirits and gave me a real boost that I needed. I was feeling down and was about to call the Macmillan Support Line, but the players walked in and picked me up. Thank you Millwall.”

Billy Mitchell, Millwall midfielder, said: “Christmas is about giving and spending time with loved ones and some people in hospital haven’t got that opportunity at the minute.

“We thought we’d come down and try and raise some spirits, give a bit of Christmas cheer and speak to some of the children and adults alike, give out a few gifts and hopefully put some smiles on their faces.”

Millwall player Matija Sarkic with patient Halz Abdulrahman and parents on the children’s ward (Picture: Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust)

With Christmas just around the corner, the hospital is encouraging donations to the Christmas Toy Appeal for young patients at University Hospital Lewisham and Queen Elizabeth Hospital who are too ill to go home and spend Christmas with their families.

You can also donate new toys in the original packaging such as baby toys, educational toys, arts and crafts sets, board games and toiletries gift sets. The Trust charity asks that you do not wrap your gifts and are unable to accept cuddly toys. 

Toys can be dropped off at University Hospital Lewisham and Queen Elizabeth Hospital’s main reception, between 10am and 3pm each day until 22 December.

Laura Crome, matron at the hospital, said: “We would like to say our sincere thanks to Millwall Football Club for their visit and continued support to Lewisham Hospital.

“The team were generous with their time and gifts, and they posed for many photographs. It was brilliant to see so many happy, smiling children, families, and staff. It was also a great opportunity for them to ‘kick’ start our Children’s Christmas toy appeal.” 

Pictured top: From left Millwall FC players Kevin Nisbet, Romain Esse, Aidomo Emakhu, Billy Mitchell, with patient Colin Travers on the children’s ward at University Hospital Lewisham (Picture: Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust)

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