Norwich City stars visit children at EACH’s hospice
- Credit: Sonya Duncan
The last Christmas at East Anglia's Children's Hospices (EACH) in Quidenham has kicked off with a visit from some of Norwich City's star footballers.
Defenders Grant Hanley and Christoph Zimmermann, as well as Aaron Ekumah and Atli Barkarson, joined 11 children and their families on Wednesday afternoon at the hospice.
It comes as the charity, which supports children with life-threatening illnesses, plans to relocate to a new £10m site at Framingham Pigot by summer 2019.
Caroline Church, EACH deputy service manager, said: 'We really appreciate Grant, Christoph, Aaron and Atli visiting, and making this magical time of year that extra bit special for families. You could see they were genuinely interested in everything that goes on here and they brought a lot of smiles and laughter to the hospice.
'This has become a very special day in our annual calendar and every year children and families are so thrilled to meet the players. This year's visit is particularly special because, if everything goes to plan, it will be the last here in Quidenham.'
The players signed autographs and handed out gifts from the club to children at the hospice, and answered questions about their careers.
Mr Zimmermann said: 'It's a great experience to see the support the children and families get. 'You could see the joy on their faces because they all love the football club, so it was a good thing for us to come here and just spread some joy some weeks before Christmas.
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'It's good we've given them something to cheer about on the pitch lately, too.'
Bethany Smith, aged eight, from Norwich, was among children to meet the players. Her dad, Steve, said: 'It's great for the kids and families that the players come down.
'You can see they spend plenty of time with each family and it really just brightens the day. 'It's great to see smiles on the faces of all the children.'
The charity launched its nook appeal in 2014, to replace its loved but tired facility at Quidenham.
The new site will include more areas for clinical care, a hydrotherapy pool, state-of-the-art sensory room, larger en-suite bedrooms and therapy rooms - across one floor.
For more information about the appeal, visit www.each.org.uk/the-nook