Exeter Chiefs players thrilled young patients with surprise visit to the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital on Thursday afternoon.
The rugby players took time out of a busy training schedule to deliver sackfuls of Christmas presents to poorly children on the hospital’s Bramble Ward.
Ollie Devoto, Jack Yeandle, Scotty Sio, Jacques Vermeulen and Hallam Chapman spent time chatting with patients and staff handing out toys and gifts kindly donated by the players and the Exeter Chiefs Foundation.
Devoto, who was instrumental in planning this year’s visit, valued the chance to give back over the festive period and praised the contributions of all his teammates.
He said: “It was amazing to get the opportunity to head down to the RD&E and to put some smiles on faces. We even managed to surprise some young Chiefs fans, which was extra special.”
“Each player at the club had to get two presents and, although there was some questionable wrapping, they all helped to contribute to a great afternoon.”
Club captain Jack Yeandle said he was delighted to make another Christmas visit to the ward.
“It is always great to have the opportunity to get some smiles on their little faces. I feel that nowadays it hits a bit harder as I’m a parent myself. So, it’s nice to give the children on the ward a bit of Christmas cheer.”
The visit was organised with the help of Royal Devon Hospitals Charity, which has relaunched this month after previously being known as the RD&E Charity.
Royal Devon Hospitals Charity community fundraiser, Debbie Allen, said: “It was very special to see lots of little eyes light up when the Chiefs arrived on the ward.
“We can’t thank them enough for giving up their time and coming in to see the children and bring so many smiles to so many faces.”