United players cheer up young patients

Josh Dodd, 12, meets Michael Duberry, centre, and other players behind, from left, Liam Davis, Luke O'Brien, Harry Worley, Lee Cox, Jake Forster-Caskey, James Constable, Max Crocombe and Sean Rigg. Pictures: OX56372 David Fleming

Tilly Heverin meets mascot Ollie the Ox

Oxford United striker James Constable hands out Christmas presents at the Oxford Children’s hospital to nine-month-old Ruby Fryer, with her mum Rachel

First published in News

BEAMING smiles and Christmas cheer lit up Oxford Children’s Hospital yesterday – and that was just from the Oxford United players.

Overloaded with gifts, the first team squad spent the morning on the wards, handing out goodies to young patients.

The team brought fruit baskets, DVDs, T-shirts, colouring books and crayons donated by fans and bought with donations by the squad.

Four-year-old Tilly Heverin, of Henley, had been admitted days earlier because of breathing problems. Not a football fan beforehand, the U’s players who gave her a board game and T-shirt to take home soon had her converted.

Mum Linda said: “She’ll be home for Christmas, and Oxford is definitely her favourite team now. We weren’t expecting anything like this today, it was a lovely surprise.”

Christine Turner, senior play specialist at the hospital, said: “Being in hospital is difficult enough for any child, let alone at Christmas, so this is such a lovely gesture.”

Oxford United goalkeeper Max Crocombe said: “It puts playing football into perspective when you see kids in here with cancer. I just hope that as many of them can get home as soon as possible.”

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