Wolves’ players and staff all took part in the club’s annual Christmas visits on Tuesday afternoon to try and spread some festive cheer in the local community and beyond.
Members and staff from the first team and Under-21 squads visited four different venues, while Head Coach Kenny Jackett, assistant Joe Gallen, and players Carl Ikeme, Dave Edwards and James Henry led a coaching session for local schoolchildren at the Compton training ground.
The venues visited were New Cross Hospital in Wolverhampton, Birmingham Children’s Hospital, the MS Therapy Centre in Tettenhall and Woodsetton School in Dudley.
As well as the visit itself, presents, match tickets and Wolves Aid donations totalling £2,000 were also distributed on the day.
At New Cross Hospital the players visited the Childrens’ In-Patient and Outpatient wards, as well as the Cardiology Ward and Care for the Elderly Ward.
Skipper Samuel Ricketts was among the delegation who visited New Cross.
He said: “This is an absolute pleasure for us to do this – just to be able to try and brighten up somebody’s day is great.
“The club belongs to the community, to the city, and so it’s important we connect with the people.
“And the staff who work here at the hospital do a tremendous job - they’re the real heroes.”
Mandi Rogers, from the Childrens Outpatient Ward, said: “We are so grateful to the players.
“It’s lovely to see the children’s faces when they walk in and recognise them from Wolves and to then be given a gift as well - they just can’t believe it.”
At Birmingham Children’s Hospital the players visited both young and older children, including spending time with children on Ward One while they were undergoing one of their three-times weekly kidney dialysis.
The players also visited the Intensive Care Unit to meet baby Ryan Brookhouse, who has spent most of his two months alive being treated for a serious heart problem.
The players chatted to Ryan’s parents Gary and Kaylee, and his brother Harley, before presenting a Wolves’ mini-kit with ‘Ryan’ on the back to the family. (SEE MAIN PICTURE)
“When you come and visit a place like Birmingham Children’s Hospital it puts any day to day problems we have into perspective,” said George Elokobi.
“All the children we have met have been smiling and putting a brave face on everything, and as a father myself it is impossible to imagine what all the parents are going through.
“All the staff here do a fantastic job as well, and if our visit has helped in some small way then that is what it is all about.”
Former Wolves defender Jody Craddock, whose son Toby has been treated at Birmingham Children’s Hospital for leukaemia, also joined his former team-mates at yesterday’s visit.
Vikki Savery, Public Fundraising Manager for Birmingham Children’s Hospital, said: “It was heart-warming to see so many children and families visited by the Wolves players and we are really grateful for the gifts that they bought.
“Christmas is such an important time of year for us at Birmingham Children’s Hospital as there are many children whose Christmases will be very different.
“They might be too poorly to write their letter to Santa or may even have to spend Christmas Day here on one of our wards.
“It can be tough for the whole family, but visits from our local football heroes help to bring Christmas into our hospital, spreading the joy of this very special time of year.”
Woodsetton School in Dudley is a primary special school which primarily provides education for children with moderate learning difficulties, as well as speech, language and communication disorders.
The Wolves players involved in this visit chatted to the schoolchildren, signed autographs and posed for pictures as well as handing out presents.
Peter Ross, Deputy Headteacher at Woodsetton School, said: “We do our best here at Woodsetton to help the children overcome their difficulties but also to give them a fun time as well.
“Sport plays a big part in life at Woodsetton School, and all of the children – regardless of their ability or disability – can participate and succeed and achieve.
“We are so grateful to Wolves for supporting that.
“We have had links with the club for several years now with the Community Trust Coaches coming in and working with our kids every Wednesday as well as money donated to help with our Adventure Playground.
“To do something like this makes it really special for everyone in the school – they have had a wonderful time and will never forget the day the Wolves players came to Woodsetton.”
The MS Therapy in Tettenhall offers a vital service to sufferers of Multiple Sclerosis, with approximately 150 patients seen every week.
Players, including top scorer Leigh Griffiths, chatted to patients and handed out gifts.
Leigh said: “MS is a horrible condition but the way that the people here at the centre carry on and get on with their lives is absolutely amazing.
“They just look so determined not to let things get them down.
“They seemed happy to meet the lads and really pleased with the presents and tickets that we gave them.”
Kate Jones, Joint Centre Manager, added: “Everybody has really enjoyed themselves this afternoon.
“It was a lovely gesture to give them match tickets and although we had already got quite a few Wolves supporters in our number, I’d like to bet there will be a few more now.
“The players were really friendly and showed that they cared.”
Wolves would like to thank the organisers and people from all venues for giving such a warm welcome to the players and staff.
Click here to view a Picture Gallery from all of the visits.
Click here to view a video from Woodsetton School