Hibs stars spread festive cheer at Edinburgh’s Royal Hospital for Children and Young People

Visit marks first time Easter Road club's players have been able to visit the hospital in person since 2019

Hibernian players spread some festive cheer to children, families and NHS Lothian staff when they paid the Royal Hospital for Children and Young People (RHCYP) a surprise visit.

The Hibs squad made their way around the hospital, meeting and speaking with some of their biggest fans on the wards and handing out Christmas goodies.

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The annual visit is organised by NHS Lothian and Edinburgh Children’s Hospital Charity (ECHC). This is the first time the players have been able to visit the hospital in person since 2019 due to Covid-19, making the occasion even more memorable.

Hibernian players paid the Royal Hospital for Children and Young People (RHCYP) a surprise visit.

Hibs manager Lee Johnson said: “We’ve thoroughly enjoyed meeting some of the children and fantastic staff here at the Royal Hospital for Children and Young People. It has been great to see smiles on the kids, parents and staff’s faces and it certainly gave us a lift.

“Sometimes we are in our own bubble – playing football every day – but we realise there is a whole other side to the world going on. Through the good work of the staff here, a lot of these kids will hopefully be out of hospital for Christmas which is so nice for us to hear.

“We would like to thank all the staff, parents, and kids on the wards today for hosting us on what has been a lovely afternoon.”

ECHC runs a programme of daily fun activities throughout December to make sure no one spending the season in hospital misses out on the magic of Christmas. Some of the other entertainment in store includes visits from a live pipe band, the Edinburgh Rugby squad and a silent disco.

Pippa Johnston, Director at ECHC, said: “The football team visits to the hospital are always a huge hit so it is wonderful to be able to welcome them back in person this year. Some of the children (and staff!) are avid supporters of Hibs so it really makes their day to meet their favourite players.

“Every year, together with our friends at NHS Lothian, ECHC works hard to make time spent in hospital a little bit brighter. We rely solely on donations and kindness to be able to do this, so we are enormously grateful to Hibs for taking time out of their busy schedule to visit those facing a hospital stay this Christmas.”

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Allister Short, Director of Women’s and Children’s Services, NHS Lothian said: “The Hibs players created a real buzz of excitement around the RHCYP wards today and we would like to thank them for bringing a smile to everyone’s faces.

“Christmas can be a very difficult time for children and young people who just want to be at home and visits like this really lift our patient’s spirits. NHS Lothian staff consider these visits to be amongst the highlights of the year which are a real treat for everyone.”

To find out more about ECHC’s Redirected Letters to Santa Christmas appeal and to donate, visit www.echcharity.org/donate