County stars spread cheer to young patients at Royal Gwent

South Wales Argus: Newport County AFC players visiting Royal Gwent Hospital Childrens and Young Persons ward in Newport. Oliver Periam and his dad Darren with Justin Edinburgh, Max Porter, Andrew Hughes, Jamie Stephens and Lenny Pidgeley. (3105351) Newport County AFC players visiting Royal Gwent Hospital Childrens and Young Persons ward in Newport. Oliver Periam and his dad Darren with Justin Edinburgh, Max Porter, Andrew Hughes, Jamie Stephens and Lenny Pidgeley. (3105351)

CHILDREN at the Royal Gwent Hospital were brought some festive cheer yesterday as Newport County players and staff visited bearing gifts.

The squad’s visit to the hospital delighted children and each patient received a Newport County goodie bag containing merchandise.

The players, staff and Spytty the Dog spent more than an hour delivering presents and chatting to youngsters in the children and baby wards at the hospital.

It meant that children of all ages got to meet their heroes while receiving a variety of presents.

Justin Edinburgh, Newport County manager, said: “It’s important to do things like this in the community, especially at a family time like Christmas.

“It’s the least we can do and hopefully it’s put a smile on people’s faces at what is a difficult time.

“Without a doubt it’s important for the city that we do things like this and I’d like to think it will slightly improve their Christmas.”

The squad split up into groups to spend more time with children and be able to visit every ward handing out presents.

One of the teenagers to be visited was Oliver Periam, 15, who had come out of theatre just moments before the players arrived.

“It was a big surprise,” he said. “I had just come out of surgery and certainly didn’t expect that. All the players were gathered around me, having pictures and talking to me so it was really good.”

Some of the gifts handed out were donated by Newport County while the rest were provided by Asda Pillgwenlly – through their ‘Give a Gift’ campaign.

They collected presents in their store for weeks leading up to the visit as well as donating selection boxes and Christmas stockings for the children.

It was a cause for double festive cheer later on in the afternoon as the Martial Arts and Fitness Centre from Maindee, Newport, delivered their gifts to the hospital.

The group raised £2,210 over two nights of their Christmas parties and put every penny towards presents for the hospital.

They invested in televisions, DVD players, games, selection boxes and more than 200 toys as well as presenting a £750 cheque to the hospital.

Leanne Gassor-Jones, 33, said: “We wanted to help the children here now but also the children that will be here in the future.”

She said a lot of the stuff we have items bought would help children long-term.

so it’s great that people now as well as in four years time can benefit.”

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