A team from the London Irish Foundation brought early Christmas cheer to children in five NHS hospitals in the club’s catchment area last Thursday and Friday (10 and 11 December).

Captained by the club’s popular mascot Digger, the team, including senior players Terrence Hepetema, Waisake Naholo and Matt Williams, visited Frimley Park Hospital in Camberley, the Alexander Devine Children’s Hospice in Maidenhead, the Royal Berkshire Hospital in Reading, St Mary’s Hospital in Paddington and West Middlesex University Hospital in Isleworth, distributing large bags of toys for children who will spend the festive season in hospital.

The Foundation’s initiative, which was supported by club sponsor Pump Technology, followed on from the club’s “Powering the NHS” programme during the first COVID-19 lockdown when over 50,000 meals were cooked and delivered by club staff and players to doctors, nurses and care workers at 17 NHS hospitals across London and the Thames Valley.

Commenting on the latest initiative, Andy Keast, Chief Executive of the London Irish Foundation said, “Our work as a Foundation brings us into contact with young people and their families on a daily basis so we’re aware of how difficult a year it has been for them, especially those with sick children. After talking with the Foundation’s staff and friends, we decided that we should and could help families with children in hospital this Christmas.

“The result was a wave of donations of toys, present wrapping expertise from our friends at the Prince’s Trust, support from the kind people at Pump Technology and players who wanted to play Santa Claus! We were able to visit five hospitals in our area and were warmly welcomed by NHS staff who will distribute the toys on Christmas Day. We are very grateful to all who supported us.”

The London Irish Foundation is a registered charity and is the official charity of London Irish RFC.

You can watch our NHS Hospitals Christmas Cheer to Children video below.

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