Manchester United and England captain Wayne Rooney and midfielder Marouane Fellaini delighted children and young adults at Francis House Children’s Hospice today when they delivered early Christmas gifts.
The event was organised by the Manchester United Foundation with players visiting poorly youngsters around Manchester over the festive season.
The stars met with families of children and young people with life-limiting conditions, and heard how the hospice supports them with respite care for the whole family.
The players spent time posing for photographs with the families before handing out gifts to thrilled hospice users in Francis House and the new teenage and young adult unit Francis Lodge.
Wayne Rooney said: “It’s important that we come here today to see the kids and young adults with various disabilities. I know how important it is not just for the kids but for the families at Christmas time to try and get a bit of a lift, and hopefully me and Marouane have helped do that today,
“At Christmas when there are sick kids or children who need a boost during the festive period, we’re in a position where hopefully we can do that for them. I know how tough it is for these families and places like Francis House can give them a bit of respite and something to celebrate.”
"I know how important it is not just for the kids but for the families at Christmas time to try and get a bit of a lift, and hopefully me and Marouane have helped do that today."
Josh Martin, 12, from Chorlton has Duchenne muscular dystrophy and was only on his second stay at Francis House.
“It was fantastic to see the players and to get to meet Wayne Rooney was incredible,” said Josh.
James, Josh’s Dad added: “It was amazing to get to meet them and for the whole family to be able to come too was great. We can’t believe what a difference Francis House has made to all our lives already. We look forward to coming and the whole family can get involved, it’s made our Christmas.”
Josh Slack, 19, from Flixton has been coming to Francis House for 4 years and stays in Francis Lodge where he enjoys the independence and spending time with his friends.
“It was a big shock when I turned around and saw Wayne Rooney and Marouane Fellaini’s faces, it was incredible I couldn’t believe who I was seeing. I am a big fan and I’ve been to a few matches. They were both really friendly and spent time chatting to each of us. Wayne was even joking around as I reversed my wheelchair, deliberately putting his foot in the way, it was so funny,
“Both players were brilliant and I’ll be saving my present to open on Christmas day.” said Josh.
Chief Executive David Ireland said: “It was a fantastic visit, everyone was so excited and had a great time, the players visits really do make a real difference to everyone at Francis House.”
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