Posted on: Fri 21 Dec 2012

It was an afternoon to remember for patients at the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital after the Chelsea players and management team popped in for a surprise festive visit earlier today (Friday).

Members of the first team squad handed out gift bags full of treats to the children, who will sadly be spending Christmas in the hospital, before happily posing for photographs and signing autographs.

Having trained at Cobham in the morning, the players made their way to Stamford Bridge for the Bridge Kids' Christmas Party, before embarking on the short trip along Fulham Road to the hospital.

The annual visit is an opportunity for the players to spread some much-needed joy to those who are less fortunate, and as Ross Turnbull acknowledged, it's a day which means a lot to everybody involved.

'I have two kids of my own, and to think they could be in hospital for Christmas is really saddening,' said the Blues goalkeeper.

'With that in mind, it's important to us as players to do this, and try to bring some happiness to the kids and families at a difficult time for them.'

Jo Lawson, a paediatric bed manager at the hospital, helped organise the visit, and was delighted to see the children so happy.

'For the children this is great,' she said. 'Some of them will spend Christmas in hospital so anything we can do to brighten it up for them and make them feel happier is great.

'Seeing the smiles on their faces when the players come round the corner is lovely, and they've been so excited all day.

'It's nice for the staff to be part of it too, and we have a lot of Chelsea fans who work here too.

'It does cheer everybody up, and the kids are happy, and can play with their games and things.

'I've been a nurse for 28 years and still love the job, coming in every day and making a difference.'

The Bridge Kids party saw over 150 children, mostly made up of junior members, junior season ticket holders and children involved with Football in the Community, enjoy an afternoon of fun at the home of the European champions.

Fernando Torres at Bridge Kids party

As always, it was a noisy, chaotic affair, with the loudest cheer of the day reserved for the arrival of the players, who threw themselves into the spirit of the event by helping out with party games and keeping the children entertained.

To wrap the afternoon up, John Terry took control of the microphone and thanked the youngsters for their support, before wishing everybody in the room a happy Christmas.