EVERTON’S first-team squad delivered festive cheer to Alder Hey Children’s Hospital on Wednesday afternoon when Blues manager Marco Silva and his players made their annual Christmas visit to the West Derby facility.
Silva, accompanied by his coaching staff and his entire senior squad, visited children and their parents on a number of busy wards including Cardiac & Neonatal, HDU, Specialist Surgery and Burns and handed out a variety of Everton goodies, all donated by the Club’s official retail partner Fanatics. They also spent time chatting to patients and their families, helping to lift the spirits of those who are set to spend the festive period in hospital.
It was Blues boss Silva’s first visit to Alder Hey since becoming the Everton manager and he said: “Since I came and joined the Club, I soon realised that Everton is more than a club, Everton is a family and today is a perfect example of that. It is important that we come and visit these children and their families at a special time of year and help to put smiles on their faces.”
Reflecting after his time on the Cardiac and Neonatal Ward, Blues right-back Seamus Coleman said: “It’s very important to come here at this time of year and see the parents and the kids. Some of them have been in here for weeks, some for months and some won’t be out over Christmas.
“The hospital is amazing and so are the kids themselves and their parents. They’re inspirational. I’ve got two young girls myself and any parent will tell you your kids are the most important thing in the world. To see how tough the parents are, how strong they are and with smiles on their faces when maybe they’ve not slept properly for weeks or months because of the worry, they’re a credit to themselves and we wish them all the best.”
Michael Keane, who was making his second Christmas visit to Alder Hey since joining the Blues in 2017, added: “We all really look forward to this visit, it’s really humbling and makes you feel privileged to do what you do and how you can make people feel. It is really nice to come and see not only the kids but their families, too.
“Everyone wants to be happy around Christmas time and with your family and friends at home. Some people aren’t fortunate enough to be able to do that so we try to make it a little bit more special for them and let them know we are thinking about them. You do take inspiration from visits like this and it puts things into perspective. It makes you realise how lucky you are in the position you are in.”
Alder Hey Children’s Hospital cares for over 275,000 children, young people and their families every year. As one of Europe’s biggest and busiest children’s hospitals, they treat everything from common illnesses to highly complex and specialist conditions.
Everton Football Club has a long standing relationship with the local children’s hospital with Leighton Baines being an official Alder Hey Patron whilst the Club’s official charity Everton in the Community has been working in the hospital for over 10 years, running activity workshops at the state-of-the-art hospital five days a week.
The healthcare campus, known as Alder Hey in the Park, opened in the Autumn of 2015 following a decade-long project to create a modern, world-class medical facility for the city, with the design inspired by children.