There was a scrum in the main reception at The Royal Berkshire Hospital when players from the London Irish Rugby Club popped in to spread a little Christmas cheer and prop up the morale of patients yesterday (16 December).

Tom Court (Prop), Blair Cowan (Back Row) and Ofisa Treviranus (Flanker) were greeted by the Trust's Chief Executive, Jean O’Callaghan and Chairman, Graham Sims before spending the morning chatting to patients and handing out London Irish goodies. 

Old and young were delighted by ‘The Exiles’ visit, especially Berkshire County rugby player and patient, 15 year old Ella-mae Duncan, who is recovering from a rugby injury.

“Being a keen rugby player myself, I’m thrilled I was here for the guys' hospital pass. It was so great to meet them”, she said.

“It’s always inspirational when you get the opportunity to talk rugby with professional players who really do live and breathe the sport".

New Zealander Jean O'Callaghan, the Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust's Chief Executive, is an avid rugby fan and wore her All Blacks shirt when she chatted to the team.  "We'd like to thank the players from London Irishwho took the time and trouble to come to visit our patients and bring them some Christmas presents.  I know that the patients and the staff really enjoyed seeing them", she said.

Along with handing out goodies directly to the patients, the players also donated a pile of gifts to the Trust’s Giftree appeal, helping to ensure every patient who is with us over the festive period gets a present to open on Christmas Day.

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