The festive season is firmly upon us and on Monday, the Chelsea squad visited children in a local hospital to spread some Christmas cheer.
The Blues, fresh from Saturday’s 2-0 win over Manchester City, surprised kids and their families at the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital, a short walk from Stamford Bridge, where they handed over presents, signed autographs and posed for selfies on the children’s wards.
Club captain Gary Cahill believes it is a vital contribution for footballers at this time of year.
‘It’s always important to come out into the community. It’s never nice to be in hospital full stop but around Christmas, I imagine it gets is a lot worse,’ he said. ‘It’s nice to take the time to come and see the kids and hopefully brighten up their day, put a smile on their faces and give some gifts out.
‘There have been quite a lot of Chelsea supporters, as you can imagine with the hospital being so close to the stadium. They seemed to be quite excited, especially to see the players so it’s been a very good day.’
Assistant and club legend Gianfranco Zola was with the group and attracted just as much attention as the current players.
‘As footballers, we have a rule to give back to the places and people that are around us,’ he said. ‘It’s been a pleasure, I like to see the players’ enthusiasm they have shown today. It’s been very good, very touching and very important.
‘This is a reality check for all of us. We are blessed to be where we are, in the position that we are. We also know that there are people who need attention and support and so personally for me and for the players, it’s good to see this reality.’
This year’s trip was organised by the Chelsea Foundation with the support of CW+, the official charity of Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, including its hospitals and clinics.