CHELSEA STARS SPREAD SEASONAL SMILES

Patients at the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital were given a festive treat on Monday afternoon when the Chelsea players and management team popped in for a surprise visit.

They were more than happy to pose for photographs and hand out gift bags full of goodies to children who are unfortunate to be spending Christmas in the hospital, while nurses and other hospital staff watched on.

The visit is a tradition which is carried out by the club every year and this one was no exception. Having trained at Stamford Bridge in morning, the players made the short journey along Fulham Road to the hospital where they were able to cheer up the children.

'It is great to see the kids and great see everyone in such good spirits,' said Lampard. 'We always enjoy coming here and it is just nice to be able to come and wish them a merry Christmas.'

For Salomon Kalou it has become a highlight as well as a tradition.

'It's very important that we came here today,' he said. 'We sometimes don't realise how important it is to the kids, but being able to put a smile on the faces of sick children can actually make their situation better. I'm very happy to be a part of it and I hope they can enjoy a wonderful Christmas when we are gone.

'It's especially important for us to come here at this time of year,' he added. 'We need to be humble and when you are in a position to give then you should always do it.

'The best way to help is to do things like this and it's something that the club do very well. Ever since I have been at Chelsea we have come here every year, it's part of my routine and it's something I look forward to, it's a very nice thing to do.'

Unfortunately there were a few young patients too ill to be seen in person but video technology was able to lend a hand with players leaving personal messages.

'Everybody is anticipating the visit from the first week in December but even those of us at the hospital who help organise it don't know when it is going to happen until the day,' said Gareth Teakle who is one of the senior nurses at the hospital.

Hospital visit

'We tend to tell the children about 20 minutes before to make sure they are on the ward and not off somewhere with their mum or in the toilet.

'The excitement is not just during the visit, for hours after the wards will be buzzing. It is the week before Christmas, it is the perfect time.

'We are in the heart of Chelsea, we are stone's throw away from the ground and we have plenty of Chelsea fans here, but even those who aren't are Chelsea fans for the day.'

Before the hospital visit, and having changed out of their kit following the morning training session at the stadium, the squad found time to pop in to see young Chelsea fans at this year's Bridge Kids party.

Over 250 who were mostly junior members, junior season ticket holders or children involved in Football in the Community were already full of noisy life when the players arrived to join in among the balloons, entertainers and party food.

They took only a few moments out from meeting the kids to watch Romelu Lukaku scoring the second goal in Chelsea Reserves' big win at Arsenal which was being shown live on TVs around the party venue. There were plenty of reasons to smile on a busy pre-Christmas Monday.