Alder Hey yesterday hosted the Everton FC first-team squad for their annual Christmas visit, the first at our new Alder Hey in the Park.
Christmas visits are always eagerly anticipated by staff and families alike, and this year’s was made extra special following an announcement earlier this week that 22 Alder Hey patients have been invited to join the Everton team as mascots for their match against Leicester this weekend.
Leading the way was Everton defender Leighton Baines, who became a patron of Alder Hey Children’s Charity last month. Talking about the new Alder Hey hospital, he said: “It’s a fantastic facility and even though I’ve been here a few times now I’m still blown away by what they have achieved. To be able to come here with the rest of the lads today and see so many smiles on the kids’ faces is a privilege.
“There’s never a nice time for children to be poorly but this is a particularly difficult time for them and their families, so if us being here can just brighten their afternoon for a few hours then it’s important we do that.
“As a patron of the hospital’s charity I would like to send all the patients, staff and families my best wishes for a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.”
Baines and the rest of the first team squad were joined by manager Roberto Martinez to visit wards to chat to patients and families, and players handed out a range of early Christmas gifts including cushions, blankets, festive socks and teddies.
Roberto Martinez said: “When you walk into the new hospital you can see that it is an incredible building,” said Blues boss Martinez. “It’s quite special and with the staff and the warmth that you walk into, you can see the incredible job that they do.
“People are prepared to give their lives to help others through very difficult periods with illness and Alder Hey is a special place in our city. It gives you a sense of perspective in life and a sense of pride because of the fantastic work that’s being done on a daily basis. It’s good to share this Christmas spirit with the fantastic people here.”