Edinburgh rugby players bring Christmas cheer to Sick Kids

Players, including Scotland internationalists Grant Gilchrist, Alistair Dickinson, Damien Hoyland and John Hardie, were welcomed into the hospital to meet the children and present them with surprise Christmas gifts.

Players, including Scotland internationalists Grant Gilchrist, Alistair Dickinson, Damien Hoyland and John Hardie, were welcomed into the hospital to meet the children and present them with surprise Christmas gifts.

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YOUNG patients and their families were treated to a special, festive visit from some famous faces this week, when Edinburgh Rugby dropped into the Royal Hospital for Sick Children.

The committed players, including Scotland internationalists Grant Gilchrist, Alistair Dickinson, Damien Hoyland and John Hardie, were welcomed into the hospital to meet the children staying on the wards and present them with surprise Christmas gifts.

The Edinburgh team, who are set to move from their Murrayfield home to Myreside in the New Year, have been collecting donations for the Sick Kids Friends Foundation - which supports and complements the RHSC - at their home games throughout December.

To spread festive joy to some of their biggest, young fans, the players gave presents including online play gift cards and video games for the ward playroom, as well as sensory gifts for children with additional support needs such as music toys and soft blankets.

Grant Gilchrist, Captain of Edinburgh Rugby, said: “The Sick Kids Friends Foundation does great work all year round and especially for children in hospital at this time of year, so we wanted to give something back.

“In Edinburgh and beyond, everyone has a story about visiting the ‘Sick Kids’, or will know someone who has – which says a lot about the important role it plays in our community.

“We were delighted to have the chance to go along and visit the patients on the wards. All the kids and their families are hugely inspiring and we’re very lucky to have had the opportunity to meet them all.”

The visit was arranged by the Sick Kids Friends Foundation, which has contributed £3 million towards the Royal Hospital for Sick Children’s move to a new, purpose-built home at Little France in Spring 2018.

Fiona O’Sullivan, Arts Programme Manager at SKFF, said: “We are so thankful to Edinburgh Rugby for making the effort to come and visit, especially at this very busy time of year.

“Some of the kids are massive rugby fans so it really made their day to meet some of their favourite players.

“At SKFF, we exist to ensure children and young people’s lives are less interrupted by illness and that they have a more positive hospital experience. We provide enhanced facilities and cutting edge equipment and it is the generosity of those who get involved with us, such as Edinburgh Rugby, which allows us to continue to do this.”

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